For much of the twentieth century, the Greenville News-Piedmont Company defended the state’s established social, political, and economic order.
(2003 circulation: 87,622 daily and 116,884 Sunday). The Greenville News is a daily newspaper published in the city of Greenville. The Greenville News-Piedmont Company has been the primary print source of news and advertising in northwest South Carolina for most of the twentieth century. The Greenville Daily News began in 1874 under the ownership of A. M. Speights, who supported Wade Hampton’s bid for governor in 1876. During the 1890s, under the editorship of Alfred B. Williams, the News became a leading anti-Tillman newspaper in the upstate. In 1919, with a circulation of less than five thousand, the Greenville News was purchased by Bony Hampton Peace, the newspaper’s former business manager. Within ten years, Peace had transformed the Greenville News into South Carolina’s leading newspaper in circulation and advertising. Peace also acquired the Piedmont, Greenville’s afternoon daily, in 1927 and ran the two newspapers under a single corporate parent. Under the leadership of his son, Roger Craft Peace, the newspapers continued to flourish. In 1968 the Greenville News-Piedmont Company merged with Southeastern Broadcasting Company to form Multimedia, Inc. With its headquarters in Greenville, Multimedia amassed newspaper and broadcast properties throughout the Southeast, plus a television production company and cable television interests.
For much of the twentieth century, the Greenville News-Piedmont Company defended the state’s established social, political, and economic order. But as the twenty-first century approached, new management moved the newspaper in a different direction. While remaining fiscally conservative, the newspaper began to address the racial, social, and political inequity that had characterized the state’s early history. The News distinguished itself in the 1990s with coverage of misappropriation of funds by University of South Carolina president James Holderman, the “Lost Trust” vote-buying scandal in the General Assembly, and stewardship of nuclear weapons facilities in the state. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the Greenville News had a daily circulation of almost 100,000 and 120,000 on Sunday. But the Piedmont, once the state’s largest afternoon newspaper, followed the trend of its afternoon peers, and closed in 1995.
Huff, Archie Vernon, Jr. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
McNeely, Patricia G. The Palmetto Press: The History of South Carolina’s Newspapers and the Press Association. Columbia: South Carolina Press Association, 1998.