It was a couple months in, around May 2014, that I hit my first wall.

We had put out perhaps 10 issues of Triad City Beat by that point and were starting to get a handle on the tasks we had laid out for ourselves. Back then, Jordan, Eric and I wrote about 75 percent of the paper each week, maybe a little more.

I was also handling bookkeeping, payroll, publicity and the thousand little things that needed to happen to make the paper go forward. I wasn’t selling ads yet, but I would be soon. And then I was running over to Big Al’s every Wednesday morning before dawn to pick up a box truck, with which I would retrieve the pallet of fresh newspapers at the old News & Record building and then bring them to our office parking lot down the road for the delivery drivers — one of whom was me.

We all drove delivery routes in the beginning. Even my father had one.

That day it all piled up on me. I had stories to work on, an aggravated advertiser on the phone and a queue of stories to edit, because I was still the managing editor around here. Plus there was the added financial pressure, because the seed money — little as it was — was starting to run out and I had no idea what I would do when it did. As all these pressures conspired to bring me as close to a nervous breakdown as I have ever been, I realized that I had not returned Big Al’s truck, which would need to be filled with gas and driven to the lot before 5 pm. And there was just no way.

What followed was the only time I ever truly lost my shit while at the helm of TCB. My freakout lasted maybe five minutes, and then we started to reorganize workflow, cash flow and systems to make the thing more sustainable.

I have been doing a version of that dance just about every day since.

Now, at our 10-year anniversary, it might be more appropriate to write about our many victories: the awards, the milestones, the incredible people who have worked here, the stories that brought about change in our cities. And we’ll have time for that in the coming weeks — we’re dropping lots of those gems from our archive on our social media channels, and we’re raising money to help us cover the election (you can donate here: and we’re having a party next month to mark the occasion.

But today, I’m remembering that first time when it all became too much, when I pounded my fists on my desk like a spoiled executive and paced around the parking lot until I figured out a better way.

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