The Sumter Item to change delivery days, add “Local News for Everyone” paper to 28K+ households

The Item Impact will increase equitable access to community


Starting in March, The Sumter Item will print newspapers twice a week, a weekday edition on Wednesday and a weekend edition on Saturday.

The paper will be mailed to subscribers and still available at racks across the community as well as at The Item's office in downtown Sumter. Each paper will be larger and filled with more local news per edition, offering a longer shelf life for articles and advertisers.

"We know some people don't like to see any changes to their local newspaper, but if we don't change we won't survive. Our family appreciates our readers and advertisers and being a part of the Sumter community, and these changes we're making moving forward will ensure we remain able to bring local news to Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties for years to come," Item co-owners Kyle and Jack Osteen said in a joint statement.

The change comes as the cost to produce news, especially related to printing and delivery, continues to increase and impact The Item's ability to maintain a business model that is becoming increasingly outdated in today's digital-first world. Traditional print advertising that is out of any employee's control, like inserts from big-box companies and classifieds, continues to contract, making large-scale innovation necessary.

"These challenges are not unique to The Sumter Item," said Vince Johnson, publisher. "Every newspaper across the country is facing similar challenges as consumer behavior has changed, and The Item's strong performance around consistent innovation and building community trust has enabled us to be where we are today."

As The Item, which has been printing news since 1894 and has remained family owned since its inception, embarks on a new era, those mission-driven priorities to consistently evolve and build community trust will not diminish. In fact, these changes will allow The Item's staff to refocus their efforts on the paper's most efficient products to bring subscribers and readers the best-quality reporters and promotions.

There will be an increased focus on areas of growth, such as newsletters, video storytelling and digital-first content. News itself is never going away. The Item will continue to produce reliable, fair, local news and storytelling daily across digital platforms.

One of those benefits of freeing up time and resources will be the creation of a brand-new newspaper serving Sumter. Published on the third Friday of each month, The Item Impact will be mailed directly - without the requirement of a paid subscription - to more than 28,000 households in Sumter.

"The Item Impact is 'Local News for Everyone,' the best we can produce," Johnson said. "And it will be the most distributed local news product in decades."

This paper will be a platform for local advertisers to connect directly to mailboxes around Sumter County, promoting the growth of Sumter. It will impact change and better inform the public about the community and people around them.

"This next step in the long history of The Sumter Item will actually poise us to reach more people than we are right now," said Kayla Green, executive editor. "News has never been free to produce, but being able to offer a robust paper to the community without requiring a subscription is a huge step toward creating more equitable access to information we all need to live better, more informed lives."

The first expanded Weekend Edition will be published Saturday, March 2. On Tuesday, March 5, there will be no paper, and the first expanded Weekday Edition will run on Wednesday, March 6.

The inaugural Item Impact cost-free monthly paper will land in mailboxes throughout Sumter on Friday, March 15.

There are special rates for advertisers who want to be part of this historic product for The Sumter Item and local community. Email your sales representative or to learn more.

The staff of The Sumter Item appreciates everyone who is a part of the community that supports local news. We would not be here - and would not want to be - without our subscribers, readers and advertisers. If you have questions, please call our customer service representatives at (803) 774-1200, extension 1, Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or email