The Post and Courier is the main daily newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina. It traces its ancestry to three newspapers, the Charleston Courier, founded in 1803, the Charleston Daily News, founded 1865, and The Evening Post, founded 1894. Through the Courier, it is the oldest daily newspaper in the South, and one of the oldest continuously operating newspapers in the United States. It is the flagship newspaper of the Evening Post Industries.
The Charleston Courier, founded in 1803, and Charleston Daily News, founded in 1865, merged to form the News and Courier in 1873. In 1926, The News and Courier was bought by the owners of Charleston's main evening paper, The Evening Post. By 1991, it was apparent Charleston could no longer support two newspapers, so the News and Courier and Evening Post were merged into a single morning newspaper, The Post and Courier. However, the two papers had shared the same editorial staff since the 1980s.
The founder of the Courier, Aaron Smith Willington, came from Massachusetts with newspaper experience. In the early 19th century, he was known to row out to meet ships from London, Liverpool, Havre, and New York to get the news earlier than other Charleston papers. He also had a translator working for him, so he could copy items from the Havana newspapers. Rudolph Septimus Siegling also served as editor during the 1800s.
The paper acquired several sisters in the 1990s when its parent bought other newspapers and television stations.
In 2008, the newspaper won national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and American Society of Newspaper Editors for coverage of the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire. In 2008, Reporter Tony Bartelme also won the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for a story about the effect of China's growth on local economies. In 2015 it won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of domestic violence.
The reported numbers for The Post and Courier's circulation as of the six months ended September 30, 2009, were 86,084 daily and 94,940 on Sundays. This is down some 13% from the period ended March 31, 2008; which were 99,459 daily and 110,289 on Sunday.
At the start of 2009, The Post and Courier's circulation figures were down to 94,647 for dailies, and 97,549 for Sundays—4.8% down on the previous years figures.
By the end of 2012, the circulation figures had declined again down to 82,266 for dailies, and 92,062 for Sundays.
Due to a decline in revenue, the paper offered a buyout to employees in 2008 in which 64 full-time employees left in an attempt to streamline the company and save money long term. This attempt to streamline the company and save money brought the headcount down to 381 by the start of 2009.
On February 6, 2009, 25 more layoffs were announced.
On March 23, 2009, Evening Post Publishing Co.—the parent company of the paper—announced that a company-wide furlough plan would take place in the second quarter of 2009—employees having to take five days of unpaid leave, in another attempt to save the company money. The newspaper said the move was necessary "because of the continued weakness of the economy and the impact on advertising".
One addition to the paper is the weekly Charleston Scene guide—published on a Thursday, containing entertainment, music and food reviews for the local area.
On February 1, 2010, it was announced that Preview was renamed and re-launched as Charleston Scene, as of 11 March 2010.