The News-Journal has woven itself into the story of Volusia and Flagler counties.

The News-Journal’s history is your history.

Nearly every day for 135 years (including one memorable post-hurricane Evening News edition that was typeset with the aid of a lawnmower) readers have picked up the paper or one of its ancestors to get in-depth coverage of local and state issues, and a thorough briefing on national and international news. They have been in turns angered, impressed, surprised, amused and moved — but always, we hope, informed.

Along the way, The News-Journal has woven itself into the story of Volusia and Flagler counties. When Florian Mann delivered the first edition of the paper (then known as the Halifax Journal) on Feb. 15, 1883, Volusia County had existed for only three decades, and fewer than 7,000 people called it home. Daytona Beach and DeLand were not yet seven years old; DeLand was a year away from getting rail service, and Flagler County wouldn’t officially come into being for another 34 years. And a key technology that would play a more-than-usually-significant role in shaping the face of Daytona Beach — the modern automobile — was in the throes of invention.

Over 13 decades, the births, lives and deaths of hundreds of thousands of local residents have been noted in these pages. The paper has informed readers on issues crucial to this area, including decades of evolution on civil rights, land development and tourism. The paper was not always right — in a rare front-page editorial in November 1931, it gravely warned of the dangers inherent in “the wholesale registration (to vote) of Negroes of all classes” — but the newspaper consistently fought hard for causes it believed in, including the importance of high-quality public education, the need for fiscal prudence at every level of government, and the importance of respecting the natural beauty that makes this part of Florida so special.

Even for those readers who didn’t grow up in this area, the paper’s history is important. Its long-term, dogged scrutiny played a crucial role in determining where, and how, Volusia and Flagler counties would be developed. It has shaped discussion of controversial topics like tourism, including the area’s reliance on special events, and consistently pushed for professional, accountable and open municipal and county government.

Along the way, the paper has maintained a clear wall of separation between an unbiased, fair news report and its official opinion — as expressed in this space. News-Journal advocacy didn’t always tip the scales — in 1986, the paper was a full-throated supporter of consolidating city governments from Ponce Inlet to Ormond Beach, a notion voters rejected — but its sights have always been firmly set on creating a better future for all residents, even as it reached out to those who disagreed.

That legacy carries on today, even as the newspaper evolves to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world and 24-hour news cycle. Our reporters and photographers will continue to capture slices of everyday life, offer crucial insight and background on the big issues facing local leaders, and keep readers up-to-date on cultural events and local sports — from the earth-shattering to the routine. We'll keep looking for ways to interact with our readers through social media and good old-fashioned email. And we’ll offer our opinion — along with ample space for opposing views, in the belief that a healthy debate benefits everyone.

The News-Journal’s future is your future. And as the business of news changes, we’ll change with it. But our core principles, of accountability, fairness and the power of information, will not shift.