She said covering breaking news was quite a challenge sometimes.
“With the breaking news beat, most of the people I met were having the worst day of their lives on the day I met them,” Shuffler said. “I saw a lot of death, and it weighs on you after a while. The summer of 1998, there were three big stories in a two-week span: the Coldwater Street Bridge over Interstate 40 explosion after a tanker truck crashed into it, a mom and children stabbed on Center Street in Morganton, and campers shot and killed in the Linville Gorge.”
She also remembers reporting the disappearance of Asha Degree, of Shelby, who has been missing for 22 years.
“They found her backpack here in Burke County, and I broke the story that it had been found,” Shuffler said. “It was a major lead in the case at the time, although it has been a cold case for so many years now.”
She wrote feature stories as well, and helped out with other beats, such as Morganton city government, Burke County government and education.
As assistant editor, she assigned and edited stories and managed the Gab section of the paper.
“When I first started working there, the obituaries were faxed in, and we had to retype them on deadline,” Shuffler said. “We also had to manually enter the stock market reports. The front page was automated, but the rest of the paper was still laid out via the paste-up method. We had the printing press there in the building as well. We still had a dark room that we used to develop negatives and prints, so this was before digital cameras. I remember occasionally having to help the press guys mix chemicals for the plates that went on the press.”