Location: 36 W. Liberty St.
Sumter, SC 29150

Office hours: Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; FRIDAY 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Main Office: (803) 774-1200

Circulation/Subscriptions/Delivery Issues: (803) 774-1258 or (803)-774-1231 or email Circulation@theitem.com

Submit a news tip: newstip@theitem.com
Report delivery issues or check delivery status: click here
Submit press release information: pressrelease@theitem.com
Contact the sales department: advertising@theitem.com
Write a letter to the editor: editor@theitem.com (please include your full name and address)
Inquire about video coverage or commercial video services: studio@theitem.com

 

To contact a specific employee, find his or her contact information below.

 

Vince Johnson, Group Publisher
Office (803) 774-1200, email: vince@theitem.com

Vince was named publisher of The Sumter Item in September 2017. Prior to coming to Sumter, he led newspaper and digital operations in Atlanta, northern Los Angeles and south Georgia, and he has been a regular speaker on media innovation in newspapers for more than a decade. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also the group publisher for Gulf Coast Media, a sister company to The Sumter Item.

 

 

Customer Service (Circulation & Classified)

Jill Burrus, Customer Service Manager, Legal Clerk
Office (803) 774-1212, email: jill@theitem.com

Jill is a native New Yorker who has slowly made her way down the East Coast over the last 20 years with her husband, Warren, and two teenaged daughters, Taylor and Logan. After graduating with a journalism degree from Hofstra University, she found herself in the apartment and residential property management industry – something she fell into and loved. Always smiling and friendly, she joined The Item with decades of customer service experience. In her off time, she enjoys spending time with her menagerie of furry pets and family and sending innocent houseplants to an early demise.

 

Kate Massey, Customer Service
Office (803) 774-1258, email: kate@theitem.com

Kate was born and raised in Cheraw and graduated from Anderson University with a BA in human services (psychology). She has worked with children, survivors of abuse and for various nonprofits. Currently, she also works part-time as a virtual administrative assistant for Clear Vista Counseling. She loves making people feel seen and understood. In her off time, she enjoys spending quality time with family and her two cats, coffee dates with friends, photography, baking and listening to a plethora of music. Kate is married to her husband, Jason, a native Okie, and they have three grown sons.

 

 

Linda Pekuri, Customer Service
Office (803) 774-1231, email: linda@theitem.com

Linda emerged from retirement and joined The Item as a customer service representative in March 2021. She gained her customer service experience while serving adults and children in Minnesota, South Dakota and South Carolina as a dietitian and public health professional for 35 years. Born and raised through her teenage years in Brooklyn, New York, and as a young adult in St. Paul, Minnesota, Linda calls herself a “Yankee transplant.” A Sumter resident since 1991, she is the devoted wife of Mark Pekuri and proud mother of their adult son, Aaron.

 

Advertising

Karen Cave, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1242, email: karen@theitem.com

Karen was born and raised in Centerville, Tennessee. Being a prior Air Force wife, she had the opportunity to travel all over Europe by living at Sembach Air Force Base and Lindsey Air Station in Germany. She also lived at Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton Beach and at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida. She has called Sumter home since 1993. She has worked for The Sumter Item since February 2002. She truly enjoys being an advertising sales representative because she gets to help local businesses and watch our community grow. She’s married to Robert Cave. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren. She attends Alice Drive Baptist Church, and her hobbies include traveling, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Devin McDonald, Sales Representative
Office (803) 983-0786, email: devin@theitem.com

Devin was born and raised right here in Sumter and graduated from Lakewood High School. Before joining The Sumter Item in 2020, he had been working in the health care industry for 10 years, doing sales and management for the last six. He is excited to be working for The Sumter Item, where he can be involved in enhancing Sumter and being more involved in the community. He married his wife, Kyndal, in 2012, and they have two children, Ella Rose and Ben. He and his family attend Christ Community Church.

 

Mark Pekuri, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1274, email: markp@theitem.com

Mark has been in sales, management, marketing and advertising for about 30 years and has worked at The Sumter Item for about 15 years as an advertising and marketing sales representative. Born in 1961 to Robert and Charlotte Pekuri, Mark is the youngest of five children. He graduated in 1979 from Westwood High School in Ishpeming, Michigan, and moved to North Carolina in 1980 before calling South Carolina home in 1993. He married his wife, Linda, in 1995 and has three sons, Eric, Jared and Aaron. He is a member of Bethesda Church of God.

 

Xavier Platt, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1211, email: xavier@theitem.com

Upon graduating cum laude from Morris College in December 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, where he made the dean’s list for his last three semesters, Xavier joined the sales team at The Sumter Item in February 2019. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, he is the youngest of two boys. His family moved to Wedgefield when he was 4, where he attended F.J. DeLaine Elementary School. He then lived in Virginia for three years before returning to Sumter for his eighth-grade year at Furman Middle School and a year and a half at Lakewood High School and finishing high school at Stonewall Jackson Senior High School in Virginia at the top of his class. He says his greatest accomplishment is his daughter, Kehlani, who was born in 2018.

 

Newsroom

Kayla Green: Executive Editor
Office (803) 774-1235, email: kayla@theitem.com

Kayla has worked in local news since 2009. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, she received her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida and has worked in Gainesville, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Sumter and the Alabama Gulf Coast. Having always had a strong pull toward feature writing and storytelling but having been thrown into the crime and courts beat as a new reporter, she has learned the critical importance of providing information people need to know and holding the powerful accountable while also writing about hope and triumph. Of telling stories spanning the spectrum of humanity. She joined The Sumter Item in October 2017 after serving as editor at the Forsyth County News in Georgia and has been awarded for reporting on topics ranging from heroin addiction to animal rescue to arts and entertainment. She is also executive editor of Gulf Coast Media, a sister company to The Sumter Item.

 

Micah Green: Chief Digital Officer
Office (803) 774-1200, email: micah@theitem.com

Born in Texas and having lived in Mississippi, Georgia and now South Carolina, Micah is a product of the South. He picked up a camera at his short-staffed newspaper after graduating from Mississippi State and has been telling stories through the lens since. His photography has received awards by both the Georgia Associated Press and South Carolina Press Association, including Photo of the Year twice, and his work has been published in The New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, the Audubon Society and Golf Journal. He started at The Sumter Item in October 2017. He is also chief digital officer at Gulf Coast Media, a sister company to The Item.

 

Melanie Smith: Assistant Editor
Office (803) 774-1293, email: melanie@theitem.com

In some way, The Sumter Item has always been a part of Melanie’s life. She was born on Shaw Air Force Base, and her parents have been subscribing for decades. In high school, she began working as an intern editor and designer and continued working for the paper while studying print journalism at USC in Columbia and Sumter. Now, she enjoys helping our team of reporters polish their stories and designing pages that give readers information they need quickly. Her favorite types of articles to design are those we can all relate to (favorite pizza toppings, anyone?) In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors hiking and working in her yard, crafting and spending time with her husband and their menagerie of pets.

 

Tim Leible: Sports Editor
Office (803) 774-1221, email: tim@theitem.com

Tim joined The Sumter Item's sports department in 2019 after covering high school sports professionally in Missouri for four years, most recently as the sports editor for The Rolla Daily News and as a sports reporter at The Lake Today before that. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

 

Rhonda Barrick: Newsroom Manager
Office (803) 774-1264, email: rhonda@theitem.com

A military brat, Rhonda has been a Sumter resident practically her entire life. She has been with The Sumter Item for more than 40 years beginning as a file clerk and now is the newsroom manager (mom).

 

 

Bryn Eddy: Newsletter Editor | Reporter
Office (803) 774-1227, email: bryn@theitem.com

Bryn is from the Fort Mill/Rock Hill area and graduated from Winthrop University with an English degree in 2022. She interned at The Item during the summer of 2021 and went on to be the editor-in-chief of Winthrop University's student newspaper, The Johnsonian. Upon graduating, she moved to Myrtle Beach and reported for a few papers in that area. She's all about her dog, Maple, and her cat, BB, and one can safety assume she's hanging out with them if not working.

 

Alaysha Maple: Next Gen News Editor | Reporter
Office (803) 774-1241, email: alaysha@theitem.com

Born and raised in Sumter, Alaysha joined The Sumter Item’s newsroom in 2021 as a multimedia reporter and writes about public safety and arts and entertainment. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she applied her creative skills and love for writing to create The H.E.R Blog. While in college, her self-taught experience in editing and social media coordinating was useful in promoting The Apiphany Podcast along with other projects she produced for her college. Her passion for storytelling, love for connecting with others and endless need to create drives Alaysha to continue to find new, unique ways to share the extraordinary experiences of those in surrounding communities.

 

Bruce Mills: Reporter
Office (803) 774-1228, email: bruce@theitem.com

A Sumter resident since 2002, Bruce has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of journalism, communications and community and economic research. After working on the news copy desk at The Sumter Item from 2002-06, Bruce served nine years as a research analyst in the greater Sumter region to include Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties. His field of research included area K-12 education and the local colleges, workforce development and business and industry trends and statistics. Bruce’s coverage now includes education, business and industry and general community coverage. Bruce is married, and he and his wife are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sumter.

 

Adam Flash: Multimedia Reporter | Photo Editor
Office (803) 774-1241, email: adam@theitem.com

 

 

 

Zac Hooks: Video/Audio Producer & Editor
Office (803) 774-1200, email: zach@theitem.com

 

 

 

Sammy Way: Archivist
Office (803) 774-1200

A lifelong Sumter resident, Sammy now gives back to his hometown as a historian and archivist. Sammy taught history at Sumter High School and coached football, basketball, track, cross country, tennis and golf, winning three state championships in track. He was named High School Coach of the Year in 1981 and ’83-’85. He has taught at Central Carolina Technical College and earned bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina. Sammy is the curator of the Sumter County Military Museum and helps in the orientation of new recruits at Shaw Air Force Base. Sammy and his wife, Rita, have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Sharron Haley: Clarendon County Contributor
Office (803) 774-1200, email: pressrelease@theitem.com

Nich Pitts, Photography Contributor
Office (803) 774-1200, email: sports@theitem.com

 

Creative Services

Janel Strieter: Creative Director | Community Coordinator
Office (803) 774-1244, email: janel@theitem.com

Janel is a member of the creative team at The Sumter Item and serves as a graphic designer, creating content for a wide range of publications. She joined The Sumter Item in 2019 after several years of working for the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she decided to move to South Carolina after falling in love with the area while visiting family.

 

Cary Howard: Graphic Designer
Office (803) 774-1285, email: cary@theitem.com

After being at The Sumter Item for almost 13 years, Cary left and spent a few years working with Hodge Systems and Consulting Services before returning  to The Item in 2022 after realizing her true passion is graphic design. 

 

 

Business Office

Michele Barr: Senior Staff Accountant
Office (803) 774-1249, email: michele@theitem.com

Michelle Lee: Staff Accountant
Office (803 ) 774-1236, email: michelle@theitem.com

Ownership

Jack Osteen: Managing Partner, Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.
Office (803) 774-1238, email: jack@theitem.com

Kyle Osteen: Managing Partner, Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.
Office (803) 774-1254, email: kyle@theitem.com

Graham Osteen: Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.

Jacqueline B. Osteen: Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.