EDITORIAL: Rhino Times no more

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Last week the print edition of the Rhino Times said goodbye. Again. And for good.

In the pages of last week’s issue, owner and publisher Roy Carroll announced that this would be the last newspaper from the Rhino, which will pivot to a digital-first strategy.

It was with no small degree of astonishment that we absorbed this news, and a conflicting mix of emotions.

The Rhino began as a small newsletter put together for patrons of John Rudy’s Rhinoceros Club, where John Hammer worked the door. From there it evolved into the staid conservative weekly that bit at the heels of Greensboro City Council and the Guilford County Commission, always bearing the standard of the local GOP.

Some might say that the Rhino, in its prime, changed the course of history in this little corner of the world. And we will add: Not always for the better.

But the Rhino has been there as long as anyone can remember, intersecting with the careers of some of our staff. Publisher Brian Clarey wrote real estate articles for them in the early 2000s, and after the Rhino folded the first time back in 2013, Clarey hired County Editor Scott Yost to write a short-lived column in Yes Weekly he titled “Yost in the Machine.”

Our news department went toe-to-toe with the Rhino almost 15 years ago, when Greensboro was in turmoil over a police scandal that seemed to spill over into all city business. In a historic 90-something-part series by true-crime writer Jerry Bledsoe, the Rhino advanced a parallel narrative that Senior Editor Jordan Green rebutted in a 10,000-word piece back in 2008

Though they’ve been tough competition over the years the Rhino staff have always been our colleagues and friends. We’re heartened to hear that they’ve re-hired reporter Paul Clark and will be redoubling their efforts at covering county and city government in online form.

We need more journalists on the streets these days, not fewer.

And it is with great respect, sincerity and humility that we say thank you to the Rhino newspaper, to John Hammer for starting it, to Willie Hammer for building it, to Scott Yost for making it funny and to Roy Carroll for saving it — and to everyone else who contributed to what once referred to itself as “Greensboro’s only newspaper.”

We’ll miss you out there on the streets.

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