After publishing the last weekly edition of its 128th year, The Cheraw Chronicle will close its doors on Dec. 31.
Declining revenue and a saturated Chesterfield County media market with two other weekly newspapers and a free-distribution shopper competing for the same readers and advertisers led to the closure, according to parent company Civitas Media LLC.
“For more than a century, the Chronicle has been Chesterfield County’s newspaper of record,” editor Corey Friedman said. “Through triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, our pages have served as the first draft of local history. The Chronicle has left an indelible mark on the community, and our current staff is grateful to have been a part of that proud tradition.”
The newspaper office at 114 E. Front St. will remain open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and will be closed Dec. 25 for Christmas Day. While legal notices will no longer be accepted, news story submissions, obituaries and wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements will continue to be published in the Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 editions.
Subscribers can request a prorated refund by calling the office at 843-537-5261 during regular business hours.
Founded in 1887, the Chronicle often served not only as Chesterfield County’s primary source for news, but also as the community’s conscience. In the 1950s and ’60s, editor and publisher Andrew McDowd “Mac” Secrest penned thoughtful and convincing editorials opposing segregation and advocating for school integration and civil rights.
“While everyone seemed to be all for a free press, when their particular ox was gored, they then, of course, wanted to shoot the messenger,” Secrest wrote in his 2004 memoir. ” I was, literally and figuratively, shot at.”
Secrest’s book, “Curses and Blessings: Life and Evolution in the 20th-Century South,” is a 597-page paperback available online through self-publishing service AuthorHouse.
The Chronicle flourished under Secrest’s leadership and later purchased a competitor, The Chesterfield Advertiser. Over the years, the paper’s work was recognized with dozens of awards from the South Carolina Press Association, including two in 2014.
The newspaper went through a series of owners in the ’70s and ’80s until it was purchased by Community Newspapers, Inc. The paper was purchased by Heartland Publications in September 2006.
In 2012, Heartland merged with several other newspaper groups to form Civitas Media, which publishes more than 100 community newspapers in 11 states.