Champion Media acquires Herald-Advocate in Bennettsville, South Carolina

Dec 1, 2021

Kinneys and McNiels

BENNETTSVILLE, South Carolina – Champion Media of the Carolinas, a family owned company based in Mooresville, North Carolina, announced Oct. 1 that it has acquired the Herald-Advocate, the community newspaper in Bennettsville, South Carolina.

Champion Media is owned by CEO Scott Champion and President Corey Champion.

“We are excited to become part of this community,” Scott Champion said. “The Herald-Advocate fits with our current North Carolina properties, and we know this acquisition will help our South Carolina business partners to expand their current advertising reach.”

Champion Media currently owns more than 20 newspapers in six states. Its largest footprint is in North Carolina with newspapers in Robeson, Sampson, and Bladen counties, as well as the Laurinburg Exchange in Scotland County, The Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham and the Anson Record in Wadesboro.

The company also owns two South Carolina publications, the Newberry Observer in Newberry and Sentinel Progress in Easley.

The Herald-Advocate was sold by Marlboro Publishing Company, which is owned by Bennettsville native Elisabeth McNiel and her husband, Dan. She represented the third generation of family ownership for the Herald-Advocate.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported our family and the newspaper for the last 90 years. We feel confident that Champion Media will do a great job and ask the community to assist them during this transition,” said Dan McNiel, who has served as the editor for the last seven years and publisher and editor for the last four years.

The late Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Kinney (Bill and Laurie) began the Marlboro County Herald in 1931 and purchased the Pee Dee Advocate 20 years later, forming the Marlboro Herald-Advocate. In 1972 W. L. Kinney Jr. (Bill and Peggy) purchased his parent’s interest, with his daughter and son-in-law (Dan and Elizabeth McNiel) taking over the paper in 2014.

Over the years, the newspaper garnered several awards from the South Carolina Press Association and has been a cheerleader for social and economic growth in the region.

“It’s important to know that your community newspaper will remain just that, your newspaper,” Scott Champion said. “We intend to continue, and expand, your local coverage of news, sports and human interest, and we believe, by partnering with our other area newspapers, will provide an expanded reach for the business community.”

Included in the sale is the regional magazine Pee Dee Life, which the Herald-Advocate staff started in 2019.

The sale of the newspaper was finalized Thursday. Many of the same faces who have worked and supported the newspaper for years will remain. The Herald-Advocate will continue to have an office in Bennettsville and offer both a print edition and online content.