OPC News LLC, formed by Graham, Kyle and Jack Osteen and a sister company to The Sumter Item, has split into two companies, the Osteens announced this week.
In the agreement, Graham Osteen, his wife, Julie, and their son, Hugh, now own two weekly newspapers based in the Jacksonville, Florida, area and another in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Jack and Kyle Osteen co-own a variety of weekly newspapers making up Gulf Coast Media in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Osteen Publishing Company, which owns The Sumter Item and has been owned by five generations of the Osteen family since its creation in 1894, remains in the Osteen family.
Several members of The Sumter Item's leadership team are taking on expanded roles within Gulf Coast Media as part of the company reorganization.
Item Publisher Vince Johnson has been named group publisher of The Sumter Item and Gulf Coast Media, Jack and Kyle Osteen announced Monday.
In corresponding moves, The Item's executive editor, Kayla Green, will serve as executive editor of both organizations, and Micah Green has been named chief digital officer of both.
"In a challenging time for local newspapers across the nation, The Item has been able to survive and remain an important part of the community in the last several years, and we're looking to expand on that success," Jack and Kyle Osteen, both Sumter natives and residents, said in a joint statement. "We're excited to ensure leadership continuity at The Item that will serve our readers and advertisers for years to come."
Launched in 1894, The Item has been the primary news source of Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties for more than a century, and it is South Carolina's oldest continuously family owned newspaper. Since 2017, The Item has revamped its Best of Sumter readers' choice and launched other community contests; its Studio Sumter video department that features its Sumter Today online news show; The Item Podcast Network; daily email newsletters; and more, earning national accolades each year for local media growth and innovation.
"The Sumter region has been receptive to the seemingly constant changes we've made over the last several years, and we're a stronger community and local media organization today because of it," Johnson said. "Our staff cares deeply about this community and serving it as well as we can, and we're excited about this opportunity to expand on so much of what we continue to learn about our readers and advertisers in Sumter."
Gulf Coast Media was purchased by the Osteens in 2014 and serves Baldwin County, Alabama's fastest-growing county and the largest county by area in the state. In addition to The Baldwin Times and three other community newspapers, Gulf Coast Media owns numerous magazines, event publications and GulfCoastNewsToday.com.
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