Passing the Torch

Family Owners to Keep a Tradition Alive

Jerry Bellune
Posted 10/18/21

When we started this conversation in 1984, I had no idea that it would last this long. And my hope is that you have enjoyed it as much as I have.You’ve traveled all over the world with our …

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Passing the Torch

Family Owners to Keep a Tradition Alive

Posted

When we started this conversation in 1984, I had no idea that it would last this long. And my hope is that you have enjoyed it as much as I have.
You’ve traveled all over the world with our family and perhaps forgiven me for some of my outrageous thoughts about high taxes, congested roads, empty public officials’ promises and other local matters.
You know we have not hesitated to expose those who misuse their power, abuse the vulnerable and commit other crimes that should alarm their mothers.
Over the last year, the pandemic crippled our community and took 70% of our revenue. Only due to the loyalty of you, our readers and advertisers, did we resist advice to close Lexington County’s oldest continuing business after 150 years.
Our family has lived through the closing of the Paterson, NJ, Morning Call, The Philadelphia Bulletin and the West Columbia Journal. We were able to keep the Dispatch-News alive by buying it and merging it with the Lexington County Chronicle.

We have spent many years trying to rescue failing newspapers and have occasionally won. 
Those we lost are another painful story.
We were starting to feel like Typhoid Marry, the poor Irish-born cook believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever, three of whom died.
We feared we might be carrying some pathogen that killed newspapers and closing the Lexington County Chronicle and The Dispatch-News might be next.
We knew how the Mack brothers, Eli and Arthur, felt when they had to close Mack’s Cash & Carry, one of the best places to buy steak and chicken in town.
We knew how Duncan and Elizabeth Crowe felt in closing the Lexington Arms, our town’s best restaurant for French and German food.
Behind every failed enterprise is a sad story of dashed dreams.
We had hoped to find someone to carry on a tradition of fearless journalism and solid community service.
Friends who realized ours was a dire situation tried to help. We talked with potential successors but did not want to turn your newspaper over to absentee corporate big wigs.

Then a near miracle occurred.
Two brothers, Jack and Kyle Osteen, expressed a desire to keep the tradition here alive as they have done in Sumter.
We have known them and their parents for many years. They are the kind of publishing family that puts the interests of their subscribers and advertisers first. They will treat you as they would want to be treated.
The Lexington County Chronicle and The Fish Wrapper are in good hands.
Our family believes you will welcome our new publisher Parks Rogers and managing editor Jordan Lawrence. They will need your support in the days ahead.
A discussion like this is bitter sweet,
We are not really saying farewell. We intend to live here in retirement and contribute to the community as we always did.
If you want to keep up with us and our adventures, check our JerryBellune.com web site where we will regularly post this little letter to you.
To comment, please write me at JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

This is Jerry Bellune's final week as editor of The Lexington County Chronicle. He and his wife, MacLeod, founded the paper in 1992.

lexington, county, chronicle, Fish, Wrapper

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