The Charleston Post and Courier, a subsidiary of the Evening Post Publishing Co., is headquartered at 134 Columbus St., Charleston, S.C.
The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., is in step with a trend we’ve found among newspapers we’ve interviewed in the southeast. It’s old. The Post and Courier claims to be the oldest newspaper in the south; it’s family-owned; it’s a generous contributor to the welfare of its community; and although it’s struggling to change its culture to become a digital-first news operation, it’s committed to that end.
Editor and Publisher William (Bill) Hawkins thinks the newspaper needs to do a better job of letting the community know how and why they do things: “demystifying what it is that happens in this old institution.” Change is what is happening at The Post and Courier. It delivers news and information in many different formats: print; web; mobile; social media -- they’ve experimented with tweeting from courtroom trials to supplement reporting; and video is a daily occurrence -- they produce a weekly show on a local cable channel. “We will be the source for reliable news for this community,” says Hawkins, “any way you want it.”
What has not changed is that “print will remain king,” says Hawkins. “We won’t abandon [our] print mission because that’s where the money is.” Hawkins acknowledges that in the future print may become a premium product, and the newspaper will have to charge more for it. But for now, its presses are running at capacity, and The Post and Courier has just introduced a glossy magazine in an upscale section of Charleston.
Another thing that, in Hawkins’ mind, has not changed -- the news business is “still a calling, a passion.”
Tom Clifford, director of digital media, hired June 2010, describes the process of newsroom restructuring, work teams and upgraded equipment used to transform the newsroom and advertising departments to a digital-first environment. Check the Backgrounder for the details. Check Enterprise Stories for “Civil War 150 Years,” a 20-part series that chronicles life in Charleston during the conflict. Check J-Epiphanies on the toolbar for Hawkins’ awareness of the power of journalism when, as a 25-year old in Harrisburg, Pa, he reported on the state pension system; and Clifford’s experiences in changing the focus of some Florida weeklies by reporting on the positive achievements of the communities’ youth.
Coming next in the S.E. Atlantic States series: The Rome (Ga.) News
Followed by the Gulf States series: The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, The Opelika-Auburn (Ala.) News, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, The (Houma, La.) Courier, and The Austin (Texas) Statesman
-- Sara Brown and Paul Steinle