Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The Moultrie News has been East Cooper's community newspaper since 1964. Reporters employed by the paper for the last 50 years have covered a wide array of topics, from students on the honor roll, school sports, crimes, municipal issues and feature stories on community life.
The Moultrie News prides itself on hyper-local coverage and our readers seem to love it. After all, the fact that we're celebrating 50 years speaks volumes.
But even more remarkable is that the newspaper has had just three owners and three publishers in our 50-year history.
Carl Edwin Meynardie, Sr. of Hanahan was founder of our dearly loved weekly newspaper and several other community papers such as the Hanahan and Goose Creek News. The Moultrie News was started in 1964 as a tabloid shopper.
The slogan for the Hanahan News at the time was “The Newspaper with the Community Spirit.” That same slogan was slotted for the Moultrie News as well when he brought it to life in 1964. He ran the Moultrie News for eight years.
In 1972, the Moultrie News was bought by Charlie Diggle and J.C. Long. At the time, Diggle was publisher of several community papers and the Moultrie News was a little tabloid newspaper published every two weeks. Diggle had been acquainted with J.C. Long for some time because of the local developer's interest in newspapers. He once owned the Tri-City News that covered Mount Pleasant, Charleston and North Charleston.
When it became known that Meynardie wanted to sell the paper for $35,000, Diggle was interested. But he didn't have that kind of money, so he called J. C., who immediately said, “Let's buy it.”
They took the Moultrie News from a tabloid printed every other week to a full broadsheet paper printed every week.
“The Moultrie News was the perfect storm for me,” Diggle explained. “The area was rapidly expanding yet underestimated in its potential. I-526 did not exist and the bypass was almost empty of commercial growth. When I had the chance to buy the paper, it could not have happened at a better time.”
Diggle said that J.C. Long helped financially but left the operation to Diggle and his wife, Pat, to develop the company into one of the widest-circulated weeklies in the state. “We had competition as time went on, but we always drove them out,” he said. “And J. C. was there with support and advice when needed. More importantly, the people of East Cooper supported the paper and participated in more ways than advertising. They became friends, supporters, writers, critics and most importantly, readers who appreciated the Moultrie News as their paper.”
Diggle ran the Moultrie News with J.C., founder of the Beach Company, as a silent partner for 12 years. When Long died in 1984, Charles Diggle bought the Beach Company's interest in the Moultrie News, and the Diggle family ran the paper for 14 more years before selling it to the Evening Post Community Publications Group in 1998. Diggle continued as publisher of the paper for another four years before retiring, giving him 30 years at the helm of the Moultrie News.
When the Diggles bought the Moultrie News, they started with a circulation of 4,000. When they sold ownership in 1998, the circulation was at 23,000. Clearly, Mount Pleasant was growing by leaps and bounds. Today, the Moultrie News delivers more than 28,000 papers to the East Cooper area.
When Charlie retired in 2002, Vickey Boyd was named publisher. Meantime, Charlie's son Chuck Diggle stayed on for several more years as editor, a position he'd held since the early 90s. Ann Burger replaced Chuck Diggle, followed by Bill Walker and Sully Witte, who has now held the position for longer than any other editor.
Today, the Moultrie News is housed in the Post and Courier building in downtown Charleston.
For the last 12 years, Vickey Boyd has helped the paper grow and flourish. Today, we boast a strong market hold on the web and with social media. Born in Kingstree, South Carolina, Boyd worked at The News in Kingstree, starting part-time and working her way up to publisher. In addition to being named publisher of the Moultrie News in April 2002, Boyd served as publisher of the Mercury from May 2012 until February 2013 when it was sold.
She was first woman accepted into the Rotary Club of Kingstree in June 1989 and served as president from 1994-95.
She also served as president of the South Carolina Press Association from 2000-2001 and remains active in the association.
Boyd graduated Leadership South Carolina in 2001.
She is married to Crane Boyd and together they have two daughters: Laura, a student at Trident Technical College and Taylor, a student at the University of South Carolina.
We feel certain Carl Meynardie would be proud of the paper he started.
The focus was always to give readers a glimpse of their community, a play-by-play account of what government officials were up to, and provide a place to celebrate and recognize East Cooper and the people who call it home.
We hope to continue to do that for another 50 years.