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Compton Herald | Jarrette Fellows Jr.

Jarrette Fellows Jr. is founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Compton Herald.

Against the odds — a publisher with a will to win

COMPTON—Students are taught in journalism school that the journalist should never be a part of the story. In the majority of cases, this is true. Report or write what happens as an objective observer. However, there are those rare exceptions, notably when the story in focus is the reporter’s own story.

This happens to have been the case involving a small, struggling newspaper called the Compton Herald, the weekly newspaper of record in the City of Compton that began the fight to succeed in March of 2012.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr., a product of Compton who attended junior and high school there, founded the Herald several years after his tenure as executive editor at Wave Community Newspapers in Los Angeles ended when a new owner acquired the company in 1999 while it was mired in bankruptcy.

It is an understatement to say that print publishing in Compton is an uphill struggle. Acquiring enough sustainable advertising while a newspaper is in it’s infancy is always a major challenge. Still, Fellows managed to gain ground, publishing a 16-page broadsheet newspaper practically on his own — writing, editing, paginating, selling ads, and distributing the newspapers — albeit in spurts on the strength of know-how, faith, determination and extraordinary work ethic.

One-armed paper publisher?

The work-ethic part of this story is the most remarkable. Fellows, at 62, suffered a stroke in November 2013 that paralyzed his left extremities — hand, arm and leg — landing him in the hospital for eight weeks.

During confinement, he had to learn how to walk all over again and to use his left hand and arm. Of course, Fellows could not use a computer to compose stories and he was confined to a wheelchair.

But, being the 40-year newspaper veteran and stubborn curmudgeon that he is, Fellows was not going to simply languish in a wheelchair. He was discharged as an in-patient from Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Calif., one of the foremost in the nation, on January 3, and remanded to outpatient rehab. The state of the art rehab hospital conjoined with Fellows’ determination had the stroke victim up and walking two months later. By June 2014, Fellows was sufficiently strong enough to return to work, picking up where he left off, resuming publication of the Herald in August of 2014.

That Fellows was able to again perform the editorial tasks — writing, editing and paginating the newspaper with just his right hand, was one thing, but overall management of the newspaper with merely a couple sales execs and no professional journalists to assist him, was quite remarkable.

Time to try something different

Then, in March of 2015, Compton Herald found new life as a digital-only publication. The Compton Herald website came roaring out of the gate reaching more people than the print newspaper ever did. The news website has been exactly what the hyper-engaged social media community of Los Angeles County needed. Renewed local and regional interest, together with the global readership now enjoyed by Compton Herald has led to thousands of page views every month. ComptonHerald.com is well on the way toward being one of the most visited of the small digital media enterprises in the region.

You have to admire Fellows’ grit, especially after something as serious as a stroke. He hasn’t quit.

To interview Jarrette Fellows, Jr., call (310) 908-9683, or e-mail the Herald at: thecomptonherald@gmail.com

10 COMMENTS
  • Denise Shaw October 7, 2017

    Brother Jarrette Fellows, Jr. so very proud to call you friend. Thank you for the work that you are doing your labor is not in vain. God Bless and keep you always is my prayer.

    • Mauricio Escobedo June 20, 2017

      It is my understanding that the residents don’t have a choice. When the lands that make up a significant portion of Compton were deeded to the city, the condition was that they remain “ranch” lands perpetually. There may be nothing that the city can legally do about it. Of course, the operative word is “legally.”

  • Jann February 18, 2016

    great job we’re so proud of you here at Rancho give us a call Jann Williams

  • Jann February 17, 2016

    How to contact someone about posting an ad on your website

  • K.Gerard Thomas January 17, 2016

    I read this before but sometimes when you know a person you feel you know the whole story. I am moved to see you working as hard as you do and honored to serve in any capacity that assist in the Compton Herald’s continued growth.

  • Kesha August 5, 2015

    You’re doing great Mr. Fellows!

  • Yvette Kendall March 31, 2015

    Powerful story…..

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