Once daily newspaper closes after 170 years in S.C.

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COLUMBIA (AP) — A once daily newspaper in South Carolina announced on Wednesday's front page that it just published its final edition after 170 years.

The Union Times story blamed the paper's demise on COVID-19, saying the economic downturn caused by the pandemic was too much to survive.

The story was at the top of the front page, sharing A1 with a story about a plane crash that a pilot survived and $1.2 million in grants to the small town of Carlisle to upgrade its sewer pumps even though the water utility lost one of its biggest customers.

The paper was founded in 1850 and touted itself as Union County's oldest business. It published daily from 1917 to 2015 before going to a twice-a-week schedule.

Three weekly newspapers in South Carolina also published their final editions this week. Bamberg's Advertizer-Herald and its sister papers, The Santee Striper and The Holly Hill Observer are closing after more than 50 years, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported.

The Union Times' final story pointed out it survived the Civil War and the shuttering of the area's once dominant textile mills, but the way the internet changed the business combined with COVID-19 was too much.

"Whether it was in print for more of the past 170 years and online in more recent years, The Union Times remained the working chronicler of the events of those years and the generations of Union County residents who lived through them with us and read about them in the pages of this newspaper," wrote editor Charles Warner in the goodbye story.

Warner has been with The Union Times for more than 30 years. His job title is editor, but he described himself as "a nearly one-man show when it came to covering the news in this county."

Union County has about 27,000 people and is south of Spartanburg on U.S. Highway 176.