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Column: A new look but continued quality journalism

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John Boyette

Welcome to a new look and a new name for North Augusta’s weekly community newspaper.

The Star of North Augusta has been redesigned, rebranded and expanded. It will now be known as The Post and Courier North Augusta and The Star.

An influx of new people and new business opportunities in North Augusta made this the right time to launch a revamped product. But rest assured that much of what you loved about The Star – stories about local people and events – will continue to be published each week.

The newspaper has been a fixture in North Augusta since 1954. It was founded as a “shopper,” mostly for advertising, and then Sam and Mim Woodring bought the paper a few weeks after it had launched. The original owners ran out of money and were eager to sell to Sam Woodring.

The Woodrings made The Star a vibrant community newspaper with local storytelling and opinions on important matters. It’s no stretch to say they helped shape and influence North Augusta’s growth for many decades.

There were some rough times along the way. Not everyone appreciated Sam Woodring’s commentary, and he would sometimes get grief for it. His commitment to the First Amendment and transparency in government never wavered.

Mim Woodring was a trailblazer for female journalists and was the first woman to ever serve on the board of the South Carolina Press Association.

In 1998, the Woodrings sold The Star to Aiken Communications, which operates the Aiken Standard. That relationship remains intact with essentially the same ownership.

The new format for the newspaper will be a long tabloid that is divided into two sections.

The Post and Courier North Augusta section will feature a cover story that explores a local topic and will also include relevant statewide news, business and development news, and investigative reporting.

The Star portion will continue to focus on community news, entertainment, sports and lifestyle features.

Two full-time reporters will cover North Augusta and the surrounding area. Elizabeth Hustad joined the team in December and as senior reporter will focus on in-depth stories and investigative reporting. Samantha Winn has been on staff since June and will continue to report on community events.

A lot of familiar faces and bylines will still show up in the newspaper. Phyllis Britt, who joined the Woodrings in the 1980s and stayed on board after they sold the paper, will continue to write her weekly column. Bill Bengtson, who has covered North Augusta for more than a quarter of a century, also will contribute from time to time.

Distribution will occur each Wednesday, and readership will grow from 6,000 to 23,000. Subscribers also will have full access to award-winning statewide content at postandcourier.com.

The Woodrings would probably be amazed – and a little skeptical of some of the decisions – if they were able to see present-day North Augusta. Downtown has been transformed with the creation of Riverside Village and the addition of SRP Park, but questions remain about the development that is still not being fully utilized.

And North Augusta continues to grow, specifically near the Exit 5 corridor. New homes and businesses have sprouted in that area, but city leaders must figure out how to make sure they can keep up with the growth.

The Star has covered North Augusta, its people and its issues for 68 years. Now, The Post and Courier North Augusta will pick up the torch and carry it forward.

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John Boyette is executive editor of the Aiken Standard and The Post and Courier North Augusta and The Star. Reach him at jboyette@aikenstandard.com or 803-644-2364.

John Boyette is executive editor of the Aiken Standard. Reach him at jboyette@aikenstandard.com or 803-644-2364.