WINNSBORO — The Herald Independent is publishing its last edition today (Feb. 25), bringing 33 years of service to Fairfield County under the same masthead to a close.
Declining revenues led to the closure, according to parent company Civitas Media LLC.
Patricia M. Edwards, publisher of The Herald Independent, said closing the paper was a difficult decision to make, especially after measures were put into place to make the publication more viable.
“The Herald Independent, since I have been with the company, has always strived to cover the Fairfield County community in a way that readers liked and wanted. We listened to readers’ suggestions, revamped our news coverage and began the new year with an optimistic approach,” Edwards said. “We cut our advertising rates, reduced the cost to subscribe and even moved the publication day at the end of 2015 in an effort to pump some life back to the paper but it was too late, I’m afraid.”
The Herald Independent published its first issue on March 4, 1982, after the News & Herald combined with the Fairfield Independent to become The Herald Independent. The News and Herald’s history dates back to 1876, the year it was formed through the merging of the Fairfield Herald and the Tri-Weekly News.
Edwards said that history is what made The Herald what it was: a newspaper about the county and for the county.
“It’s always sad when you have to close a newspaper, especially one like The Herald, which has been a part of this community for at least 140 years in one form or the other,” she said. “People who are not what we call ‘old-timers’ — people who have been in the business long enough to remember paste up and earlier — can’t comprehend why we do what we do week in and week out. It’s because we love the news business and when you’re in a community like Winnsboro, one that is full of history and unique people, it makes our job not seem like a job at all.”
Edwards said the paper was a mainstay in the community because of its employees over the years, all of whom brought the same dedication to the paper.
“It takes a unique individual to work for a weekly newspaper and I have worked with some of the most professional people while here,” Edwards said. “I will miss them and I will miss being in Fairfield County.”
The newspaper office at 127 North Congress St. will close Feb. 26. Subscribers can request a prorated refund by calling 803-768-3118 or 803-276-0625 during regular business hours.