She said covering the latest news was sometimes a challenge.
“With breaking news pacing, most people I met were having the worst day of their lives the day I met them,” Shuffler said. “I’ve seen a lot of death, and it gets to you after a while. In the summer of 1998 there were three big stories in the space of two weeks: the Coldwater Street bridge explosion over- above Interstate 40 after a tanker truck crashed there, a mother and children were stabbed on Center Street in Morganton, and campers were gunned down in Linville Gorge.
She also remembers reporting Asha Degree, from Shelby, missing for 22 years.
“They found his backpack here in Burke County, and I announced it was found,” Shuffler said. “It was a major lead in the case at the time, even though it’s been a cold case for so many years now.”
She also wrote feature stories and helped with other beats, such as Morganton city government, Burke County government, and education.
As an assistant editor, she assigned and edited stories and managed the Gab section of the newspaper.
“When I first started working there, obituaries were faxed and we had to retype them on schedule,” Shuffler said. “We also had to manually enter stock market reports. The first page was automated, but the rest of the paper was still laid out via the glue method. We also had the printing press in the building. We still had a darkroom that we used to develop negatives and prints, so that was before digital cameras. I remember sometimes having to help the press guys mix chemicals for the plates that went on the press.