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After 50 years at The T&D, Writer Cathy Hughes has eyes on way forward for newspapers | Native

Cathy Culler Hughes started her profession at The Occasions and Democrat on Jan. 10, 1972.

And now, 50 years later, The T&D’s writer remains to be passionate about her job.

“Individuals ask me, ‘When are you going to retire?’” Hughes mentioned.

“And I say, ‘I don’t have a calendar with that date on it but. I don’t know. It’s nonetheless thrilling and difficult for me. I don’t need to miss something and I like to work.’”

The lifelong North resident has witnessed The Occasions and Democrat go from strictly a printed newspaper to being greater than that – it’s now a part of a 77-enterprise firm that reaches throughout the nation by revolutionary digital promoting.

Hughes is grateful for a profession that’s allowed her to be in the course of an business that’s altering and innovating.

“I’ve by no means been extra optimistic than in the present day, with the whole lot that we are able to do and the sources behind us,” Hughes mentioned.

“We’ve extra paid subscribers now than the 12 months earlier than as a result of we now have each print and digital,” she mentioned.

Hughes’ T&D beginnings

“I don’t know the way many individuals at 17 or 18 know what they need to do for his or her life’s work, however I knew I used to be going to the College of South Carolina. I turned acquainted with a number of the journalism faculty – the dean, the school – and determined to main in journalism,” she mentioned.


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She took a reporting class, promoting courses and labored at The T&D the summer season between her sophomore and junior years.

“That sealed the deal and I knew that I might proceed in journalism,” she mentioned.


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The 1968 North Excessive Faculty graduate was a scholar on the College of South Carolina “throughout campus demonstrations and all of that.”

“It was an thrilling time to be on campus,” she mentioned.

She needed to marry her highschool sweetheart, however listened to her mother and father, who mentioned, “You need to end faculty earlier than you get married.”

Hughes would’ve labored at The T&D in the course of the summer season between her junior and senior years of faculty, however she determined to go to summer season faculty so she might end a semester early and get married.

And that’s what she did. On Dec. 19, 1971, simply days after commencement, she married Randy Hughes.

She began her profession at The T&D lower than a month later.

The primary 12 months at The T&D was filled with thrilling information occasions.

On a Sunday afternoon in October 1972, a hearth burned The T&D and its press.


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“There are some issues in life you by no means needed to face, however once you did, then you definitely say, ‘Because it occurred, I’m so glad I used to be there and didn’t miss it,’” Hughes mentioned. She mentioned the hearth was such an occasion.

“I noticed what working at a newspaper meant: a group that comes collectively regardless of the challenges or circumstances,” she mentioned.

She and colleagues salvaged what they wanted to get the newspaper printed for the subsequent day’s version.

They took the pages for the subsequent day’s version to The Sumter Each day Merchandise to be printed.

The entrance web page, “had an aerial picture of our burning constructing,” Hughes mentioned.

“We by no means missed an version,” she mentioned.

The T&D was briefly housed first on the outdated Lodge Eutaw after which on the Sifley Constructing for a number of weeks following the hearth. However after 30 days, a brand new press was put in and the newspaper was printed in Orangeburg as soon as once more.

Then in February 1973, South Carolina skilled historic snow ranges.

“You speak about challenges,” Hughes mentioned. “Once more, we by no means missed an version. I can’t say we obtained each paper delivered, however all subscribers obtained each paper ultimately.”

In September 1989, one other historic climate occasion hit the Palmetto State: Hurricane Hugo.

Hughes had electrical energy at her house in North. However when she arrived at work, she found a lot of Orangeburg was with out it – together with The T&D.

The late Dean Livingston, who was the longtime T&D writer then, mentioned, “What are we going to do? We’ve obtained to discover a generator.”

Hughes responded, “I’ve obtained electrical energy.” She and her co-workers gathered what they wanted to assemble the subsequent day’s version and laid the pages out on a pool desk within the playroom at her home.

They returned to Orangeburg the place a generator was whirring alongside at The T&D.

The Bamberg Advertizer-Herald printed the subsequent day’s paper, and once more The T&D didn’t miss an version, Hughes mentioned.

Whereas The T&D continues to function an award-winning newspaper, it’s advanced into rather more than a printed medium.

Innovation and The T&D

In 2002, Lee Enterprises acquired The T&D from Howard Publications and it’s been on the reducing fringe of know-how since, Hughes defined.

And retaining in keeping with know-how is woven into The T&D’s cloth.

Hughes mentioned Livingston “would’ve cherished to have seen what was happening now” with innovation at The T&D.

“I owe rather a lot to Dean Livingston,” she mentioned. “He put collectively a very good group right here and many people are nonetheless right here.”

“Dean Livingston was an superior writer and chief of The Occasions and Democrat. He employed me. He was a mentor till the day he left and past,” she mentioned.

“You speak about innovation, this newspaper was the primary within the state, I imagine, to go to ‘chilly kind’ – which isn’t utilizing the linotype, which was the new steel,” Hughes mentioned. “Chilly kind” because it was referred to as within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, referred to photographic or computer-based typesetting.

“We’re a lot extra. We’re a full-service digital enterprise – each information and promoting,” Hughes mentioned.

“My focus, for the previous few years, has been extra in promoting, virtually solely as a result of we don’t simply promote to The T&D Area market – Orangeburg, Bamberg, Calhoun counties – we promote promoting to look wherever someone needs to succeed in,” she mentioned.

“So we’re not simply in a position to present merchandise in The T&D and TheTandD.com. We are able to promote, for instance, if in case you have a department in Seattle, Washington, we are able to make the digital promoting seem in that market,” she mentioned.

“It’s actually altogether totally different from once I began and altogether totally different from the early 2000s,” she mentioned.

“One of many largest challenges is for our clients to concentrate on the whole lot we are able to do for them to succeed,” she mentioned.

“You hear us speak about supporting native journalism. That’s our mission, however we’re a enterprise,” Hughes mentioned.

“We’ve no grants, no subsidies, we’re not a non-profit. We’re a for-profit enterprise, however our mission is to offer data – whether or not that’s information or whether or not that’s promoting data – we disseminate that data in a number of methods over a number of channels,” she mentioned.

“How a person needs to obtain that data is as much as them,” she added.

“I don’t care if you wish to learn the print paper or if you wish to learn it in your cellphone, my job is to verify we’re doing the very best we are able to at offering that data,” Hughes mentioned.

“I nonetheless hear individuals say, ‘Oh, don’t you hate that web?’ ‘Didn’t that web kill your small business?’” she mentioned.

“No, it opened up so many extra alternatives and The Occasions and Democrat – this enterprise, this enterprise positioned proper right here in Orangeburg – is represented throughout this nation and effectively considered,” she mentioned.

“And it’s virtually like we now have to persuade the individuals right here of the job we’re doing.”

Hughes mentioned The T&D has established a 140-year-old model as a newspaper amongst locals, however now, the newspaper is “only one a part of what we do.”

“We’re a full-service, digitized firm that prints a well known, long-standing newspaper,” she mentioned.

Lee Enterprise’s largest newspaper is The St. Louis (Missouri) Publish-Dispatch, Hughes mentioned.

The innovators there developed a full promoting company, Amplified, that works with all 77 enterprises inside Lee.

“That’s how we do our video advertisements, e-commerce and extra,” she mentioned.

Group and The T&D

“I’m happy with Orangeburg. I’m happy with this area. I’m happy with this group and the individuals right here and lots of instances I consult with The Occasions and Democrat as ‘Orangeburg’ as a result of I’m a part of a 77-newspaper group,” Hughes mentioned.

Fifteen of the 77 newspaper enterprises throughout the nation in Lee report back to Orangeburg, Hughes mentioned. She turned a bunch writer of a number of Lee Enterprises areas in 2017.

“That’s actually a praise to Orangeburg and The Occasions and Democrat, not me. Nobody particular person can succeed by themselves on this enterprise,” she mentioned.

Hughes is happy with the neighborhood accomplice The T&D is to Orangeburg and the area.

A violent tragedy shook Orangeburg on Feb. 8, 1968. Three younger males – South Carolina State School college students Samuel Hammond and Henry Smith and Wilkinson Excessive Faculty scholar Delano Middleton – had been killed and 28 others injured when S.C. Freeway Patrol troopers opened fireplace on a crowd of protesters following three nights of escalating racial rigidity over efforts to desegregate the All-Star Triangle Bowl.

The occasion turned often called the Orangeburg Bloodbath.

Hughes recalled that, “12 months after 12 months it appeared the neighborhood was debating this situation across the anniversary time and it was getting very polarized.”

In 1998, on the thirtieth anniversary of the tragedy, “Dean Livingston and I attended a collection of conferences of neighborhood leaders – Black and white – and out of that got here an effort of therapeutic,” Hughes mentioned.

“We arrange a full web page with an initially written (assertion) about ‘allow us to heal ourselves’ and the way we would have liked to recollect and acknowledge on each anniversary of that occasion, however might we strive to try this as one individuals, not two sides?” Hughes mentioned.

“Many neighborhood leaders got here in and signed that assertion – Black and white – and I believe it made a big effect,” Hughes mentioned.

“For years we ran that assertion as an editorial on the anniversary. I hope it went a methods in therapeutic this neighborhood as a result of by 1998, it was not completely healed but,” Hughes mentioned.

“I don’t suppose it’ll ever be 100% healed, however we acknowledged it was an occasion to not neglect. We couldn’t neglect, however we would have liked to heal,” Hughes mentioned.

Hughes is grateful for the partnerships The T&D has with South Carolina State College, Claflin College, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical School, native governments, medical amenities and enterprise organizations, and works arduous to be a great neighborhood citizen.

In September 2004, The T&D led the celebration of the three hundredth anniversary of the Orangeburgh District, culminating with a “neighborhood celebration.”

Equally, in 2006, The T&D celebrated with a neighborhood occasion for the newspaper’s a hundred and twenty fifth birthday.

On April 26, 2007, the primary nationwide debate of the Democratic presidential primaries was held at S.C. State.

“We went all out,” Hughes mentioned of The T&D.

“We hosted a reception for all of the media, which included worldwide media,” she mentioned.

“We truly gained a Lee Enterprises President’s Award for our protection and the whole lot related to that occasion,” Hughes mentioned.



TheTandD.com: $5.99 for the first month

In 2021, The T&D marked 140 years. It’s solely had 5 publishers in almost 1-1/2 centuries.

“I hope Orangeburg realizes how lucky it’s to have a each day newspaper, not how lucky it’s to have The Occasions and Democrat – to have a each day newspaper,” Hughes mentioned.

“How would you discover out credible data with out journalists who’ve integrity and are goal and who take critically what they do? I’m proud to be related to journalists,” Hughes mentioned.

On Hughes’ fiftieth anniversary at The T&D, the newspaper started printing the Florence Morning Information.

“It is a constructive transfer for Orangeburg because it retains that enterprise and workforce in South Carolina and extra particularly in Orangeburg, and it proves Orangeburg – The Occasions and Democrat – is aggressive with different newspaper printing amenities,” she mentioned.

Contact the author: [email protected] or 803-533-5545. Observe on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

“Individuals ask me, ‘When are you going to retire?’ And I say, ‘I don’t have a calendar with that date on it but. I don’t know. It’s nonetheless thrilling and difficult for me. I don’t need to miss something and I like to work.’”

T&D Writer Cathy Hughes

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