(2003 circulation: 21,471 daily and 21,099 Sunday). A morning newspaper, daily and Sunday, published in the city of Sumter, the Item has been published by five generations of the Osteen family since its founding in 1894. The Item, which lists itself as independent politically, serves a three-county area: Sumter, Clarendon, and Lee. Its antecedent, the Watchman and Southron, was created by Noah Graham Osteen (1843–1936) and the Reverend C. C. Brown in 1881 by merging the Sumter Watchman and the True Southron. This newspaper was absorbed in 1931 into the Sumter Daily Item, which had been created by Noah Osteen’s son, Hubert Graham Osteen, in 1894.
The Osteen family continued its connection with the Daily Item throughout the remainder of the century. Hubert Duvall Osteen was editor and publisher of the Daily Item from 1946 until 1972. His son, Hubert D. Osteen, Jr., who joined the Daily Item in 1963, became editor in 1972 and publisher in 1984. He retained both titles into the twenty-first century and was president and chairman of the family- owned corporation, the Osteen Publishing Company. N. G. Osteen, Hubert Graham Osteen, and Hubert Duvall Osteen were each named to the South Carolina Press Association Hall of Fame.
In August 1987 the paper shortened its name to the Item and added a Sunday newspaper in August 1987. The Item became a morning newspaper on April 1, 2002. As a major voice in the community, the Item led campaigns to head off closing of nearby Shaw Air Force Base, which for years has been a major economic force in the community.
McNeely, Patricia G. The Palmetto Press: The History of South Carolina’s Newspapers and the Press Association. Columbia: South Carolina Press Association, 1998.