The Savannah Morning News is a daily newspaper in Savannah, Georgia. It is published by Morris Communications, Inc. The motto of the paper is "Light of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry". The paper serves Savannah, its metropolitan area, and parts of South Carolina.
William Tappan Thompson, author of the "Major Jones" series of humorous stories, along with John McKinney Cooper as publisher and owner, founded the paper on January 15, 1850 as the Daily Morning News. At the end of the Civil War in 1865, John Cooper was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson allowing him to retain ownership of the paper. Its named was changed to the Daily News and Herald, though Thompson remained as editor. Thompson left the paper in 1867 to travel in Europe. In 1868, Thompson returned and the paper was renamed again to The Savannah Daily Morning News for one edition, then changed to the current name the following day. In 1870, Joel Chandler Harris, who later went on to write the Uncle Remus tales, became an assistant editor. As assistant editor, Harris launched a successful campaign to outlaw dueling, which was still popular in Savannah in the mid-19th century. Whereas previous editors had written glossed-over stories of brave men dueling over their honor, Harris wrote about grown men urinating in their pants from fear, missing their shots wildly because of fear and sometimes begging for mercy.
Banker Mills B. Lane, Jr. and publisher Alvah H. Chapman bought the Morning News and the Savannah Evening Press in 1957 and combined some operations as the Savannah News-Press Inc. The papers were again sold in 1960 to William Shivers Morris Jr., owner of the Augusta Chronicle. In 1969, the staffs of the Savannah Evening Press and the Savannah Morning News merged and in 1972 a combined Sunday edition called the Savannah News-Press was published. As evening newspapers were becoming less profitable due to competition by evening news programs on television, the Evening Press was cancelled, running its last issue on October 31, 1996. This left the Morning News as the only major daily newspaper of Savannah.
The reported numbers for the Savannah Morning News' circulation as of the six months ended September 30, 2009, were 39,656 daily and 52,493 on Sundays. In June 2005, the daily circulation was reported at 53,825.—The change is a 26.3% drop. As of July 2013, the newspaper's primary website, savannahnow.com, remained the most-viewed local news source in the Savannah metropolitan area, with an estimated 75,000 unique visitors monthly and roughly 7 million page views monthly, according to Quantcast.
New product launches
In March 2013, the Savannah Morning News expanded its arts and entertainment section "Do" into a free standalone alt-weekly distributed at roughly 200 newsstands across Chatham County and through a new website and mobile app. In April 2013, the newspaper launched a new company called Main Street Digital.