Editor of the Roanoke Tribune reflects on 80 years of publishing

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Last week, The Ronaoke Tribune celebrated 80 years of making and recording black history. From humble beginnings, the paper remains a fixture in the Roanoke community. It's due in large part to its dedicated editor.

Even at 91-years-old, Claudia Alexander Whitworth is still working on her paper. She doesn't know any different.

"Just feels natural," she said. "When you've done something that long it comes automatic to you."

Whitworth's career began when she started working for the paper's founder, her father Reverend Alexander. Eventually she worked in New York City at the New York Page. She said she remembers being the only female Linotype operator in a smoky room full of men.

"I would go straight to my machine, strictly business, never talked to anybody or anything," she said.

Eventually, she returned to Roanoke, took over the paper and says she's never missed an issue.

Even when her building was bulldozed and firebombed, she said she insisted on publishing, and only publishing the good news in the community.

"Because I don't print who's in jail, who shot who," she said. "You'll never read that in the tribune. That's on the television as soon as it happens in the street doing that. Why am I gonna say anything like that about us? I'm trying to present the more positive side of blackness."

Whitworth said the community has come to expect the Tribune to deliver, and she takes that seriously.

"Well we just feel like family," she said. "I think it has solidified the whole community because we have one medium we all use"

It feels like family because the office is filled with her family. She's got 80 years to look back on, and says she and her family will be working toward another 80 more.

"We're on a roll!"