While living in a town of 5,000 people the past four years, I learned to wear a lot of hats.
Edenton is situated in North Carolina’s smallest county by land mass, but its residents have some of the biggest hearts I know. Everyone pitches in and does a little bit of everything so the community runs smoothly.
My husband and I often covered sports for our two newspapers, while cheering on neighbors or our own children. I volunteered at events, while also covering them. My kids learned about our community and sometimes acted as photographers and reporters at ghost walks and the Pilgrimage tour of historic homes.
While I wore many hats, they all served what I consider my calling — being a community storyteller/historian and adventurer.
The news section tells the stories of crimes, government meetings, history-making events, etc.. A newspaper’s lifestyles section tells the community’s real story. What we eat, how we exercise, who marries who, where we go for fun … all those things are recorded in the lifestyles pages.
As a mother, sharing family friendly activities in the newspaper helps me plan our weekend. I have two children who are sports enthusiasts. Our middle son is a Boy Scout with a knack for remembering the names of plant and animals and building things. They are all for seeing new things and going somewhere different.
Of course as a mother of both kids and dogs, I know how seeing a relative’s name in the paper for their accomplishment is pretty special. We’ll do our best to get as many of those fridge-hanging-worthy items into our Sunday Lifestyles section.
As a culinary school graduate, I love sharing how food tells a culture’s history. For example, in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina, we have this dish called Yock (pronounced yaak). After World War II, Navy sailors from the Newport/Hampton Roads, Virginia, area, came home and tried to replicate the Asian dishes they had while serving in the Pacific. They came up with Yock, which is basically stir fry with barbecue sauce. Sharing the local restaurant scene and regional dishes and the stories behind them are among some of the things we hope to do with the food page.
I grew up in a family of volunteers, so I enjoy sharing opportunities to help. Besides covering your story, I want to help you out in any way I can. Even if it means getting a little dirty.
Journalists tend to be better at their jobs when they’re immersed in the community. We aren’t over there, as some separate group of people away from the people they cover. We’re right here with you — worrying about the same things you do and celebrating the same things that make our communities great. The lifestyles section is a great place to share community journalism.
In regards to helping readers connected to Columbus Air Force Base, I am a volunteer leader with Team Red, White and Blue, an organization that enriches veterans’ lives through social and physical activities. As someone with many relatives and friends who are either currently serving or have served our country, I’ve learned that providing information about ways to interact with the community is vital to preserving some sanity and making their time here as joyful as possible.
The newspaper has many long-time readers, as well as some readers who are new to the Golden Triangle. In the lifestyles section, I hope we can show new people how to become immersed in the place they now call home. For those established residents, I hope we can give you a new reason to enjoy places you haven’t visited in a while, and maybe share things you’ve forgotten or didn’t know.
As I’m still learning about our area, I welcome story ideas and press releases regarding the region’s organizations and other activities. Please email me at [email protected] .
I can’t wait to see or hear from you!
Nicole Bowman-Layton is the lifestyles editor for the Commercial Dispatch. She can be reached at [email protected] .