Rockingham County born and raised, the publisher Lisa Finney Griffith started Eden’s Own Journal on her own in 1998 and over the past 20 years the paper has grown to what it is today. Her daughter, Elizabeth Doss, now co-publisher, is bringing the paper further into the 21st century with the Facebook and Webpage Upgrades.
Eden’s Own Journal is the first countywide paper in Rockingham County and lives by the slogan
“Investing in Rockingham County’s Quality of Life"
Where We Started
It’s been a long road to get to our 20th Anniversary. Eden’s Own Journal has grown from a small eight page black and white paper in December of 1998 to what you now hold in your hands. All of this from the overwhelming support of local business and the community.
I’m Lisa Finney Griffith, owner and publisher. I grew up in Happy Home Community and moved into Eden when I was 24. This was in 1986. I began work at the Eden Daily News in May of 1986, stuffing circulars into papers in the pressroom. This was back when Richard and Beverly Robertson still owned the paper, and J.S. Roberson would visit the employees when his health allowed. It wasn’t very long before the Production Manager brought me in to work in the dark room. Six years later I left the paper and went to work at a graphic site for RR Donnelly Graphics learning so much along the way. When they closed I returned to Eden Daily News with new computer skills, just as the paper was becoming computerized itself.
I assisted everyone in the newsroom and design departments on the computer system, and was tasked with keeping them operating smoothly for the news room, while my primary job was graphic design. The paper had been sold multiple times by then and had long been corporately owned.
Six years later I left again. My dream was to create my own community paper that was focused only on our city and would always be free to the public. To do this I had to have the support of local businesses who would run ads that would provide the funds for compelation, printing and delivery. I also didn’t want a 9-5 job. I wanted flexibility. This was my passion, not just my job.
I drew out on regular 8.5 x 11 paper an example of what I wanted my product to look like, with an explantation of my vision. I also began gathering news, schedules, editorial, jokes. I wrote a few articles. I sold several ads to very trusting business owners who hoped my vision would come to life. These brave and trusting businesses included: Fair Funeral Home, Chilton’s Body Shop, Master Lube, Ramsey’s Barber Shop as well as Ace TV Rentals, Genesis Medical, Parntership for Drug Free America, Choice Center Homes, Domino’s Car Sales, Smarts Citgo, Electric Beach Tanning, Beanies-R-Us, Wayne’s Golf Shop, LUV Homes, World Under Pet Connection, Primerica Insurance, DND Cards and Collectibles.
So within one and a half months of leaving the Eden Daily News I had my first paper out to the public. Although small, I had accomplished what I had set out to do: Provide Eden with a paper that was locally owned and locally focused. The first issue was distributed on December 1st, 1998
Lots of prayers, support from my family and hard work brought Eden’s Own Journal into being. For the first couple years I pasted up copy, and physically carried the layout sheets to our printers. Later we advanced to CD’s carried directly to the printers. I now go to press via FTP site and never leave my desk. Our first issue was only eight pages all black and white with simple graphics, no photos. Over the next 10 years it went to 44 pages with 24 pages with full color photos, graphics and more. Constantly growing, for the first 10 years I myself handled the sales, design, writing and gathering of information. I had help from my family with the delivery.
Eden’s Own Journal at that time was only Eden oriented. With growth comes change and a lot of both happend over the next 10 years. By 2008 we were up to the maximum capacity of any regional press. We had to either substantially raise our prices or move to two publications monthly.
We then branched out to the entire county and in 2008 began 2 seperate issues per month. The idea of changing the name of the entire paper to Rockingham County Star was tossed around, but after surveying my largest base at the time, Eden advertisers and readers, I soon understood that would alientate my strongest supporters at the time. As a result, I kept the name Eden’s Own Journal, but adopted the name “Rockingham County Star” for our section which runs througout the paper on countywide news. With the two seperate publications a month, I of course needed help. Thus my family came to my rescue. Including my daughter Elizabeth who started working with me full time and also hired three sales persons. We moved to a large office across from Morehead Hosp.
After a very trying two and a half years, with more than twice the work for 1/2 the advantage, the dream to be flexible and work my passion was fading. After much research and soul searching the two-issue per month project came to an end two and half years later.
We closed the office on Hwy 14, came back to my newly decorated home office, where Elizabeth and I took on all the sales again and production work again.
Now back to one cohesive issue per month, we began concentrating on all the municipalities. We added sections for the larger municipal areas including Reidsville and Wentworth as well as Western Rockingham which includes Madison, Mayodan and Stoneville. I now have a 30 second commute, and only Elizabeth and I handle the daily business contacts, interviews, design, sales, interviewing, writing, editing, finance, billing and more. My husband David handles ciruclation and stand care. Eden’s Own Journal has grown substanially. We now get news from the all the various city’s departments, chambers, senior centers, civic groups and more as well as the businesses sharing their news. With only a limted space each month I have to be very creative in the choices as to what goes to print or not.
Eden’s Own Journal / Rockingham County Star is still free on over 135 stands throughout our county. The printing is fully supported by our advertiseres who share in our mission: Investing in the Quality of Life in Rockingham County.
We print good news, important information, schedules, events, plans and citizen features to the community. There’s enough bad news on a daily barrage of radio, tv, internet and social media. We need the support of all the county in getting out the good news we all need to know. Sometime in the future my daughter Elizabeth will take on the publishers seat when I decide to retire. She has trained for it since she was 16.
I am so blessed to have come this far, and to have the trust of the cities and towns and businesses. We are here for the people, the businesses and cities that make up our fine county, and hope to be for at least 20 more years!
What We've Achieved
From 8 Pages Full Black & White Paper to 44 Pages Full Color Paper.
Providing Rockingham County With Local News, Events, & Feature Stories.
Started By Serving Eden Only, We Have Since Expanded To Serving Rockingham County.
Stayed A Family Owned & operated Business From Day One.
We Now Have A Circulation Of 30,000+
Started A Business Facebook Page.
Looking For Ways To Improve Daily.