(2003 circulation: 18,094 daily and 19,355 Sunday). The Island Packet is a morning newspaper, daily and Sunday, published weekday mornings with offices in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island and printed in Beaufort. In 1970 Ralph Hilton, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, and two others invested in a newspaper for the upscale community of Hilton Head Island. The first issue was published on July 9, 1970. Hilton became the editor and Thomas Wamsley served as president and business manager. The weekly began with a circulation of three hundred. Volunteers, mostly retired newsmen, were mainstays of the Packet. In March 1973 the Packet was sold to the News and Observer Publishing Company of Raleigh, North Carolina. The newspaper became a twice-weekly publication the following October.
In 1983 the Packet converted from tabloid to broadsheet size, published three times a week, and began home delivery. It became a five-day-a-week daily in 1985 and added a Sunday newspaper in 1987. In January 1990 McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento, California, purchased the newspaper. The Packet added a Saturday issue five years later, and in 1997 began an online edition. The Packet bills itself as politically independent but has been aggressively proenvironment and has fought to prevent pollution of pristine sites nearby.
McNeely, Patricia G. The Palmetto Press: The History of South Carolina’s Newspapers and the Press Association. Columbia: South Carolina Press Association, 1998.