Coastal Observer editor to lead state press association

Charles Swenson
Charles Swenson

Charles Swenson, editor of the Coastal Observer in Pawleys Island, has been elected president of the S.C. Press Association after a vote of the Press Association’s membership.

Other officers elected were: Richard Whiting, executive editor of the Index-Journal in Greenwood, as daily newspaper vice president; Nathaniel Abraham Jr., publisher of Carolina Panorama in Columbia as weekly newspaper vice president; and Steve Bruss, executive editor of The Greenville News, Independent Mail in Anderson, and Herald-Journal in Spartanburg as treasurer.

Elected to two-year terms on the SCPA Executive Committee were: Cliff Harrington, editor of The Herald in Rock Hill; Autumn Phillips, executive editor of The Post and Courier; and Hal Welch, general manager of The Journal in Seneca.

Re-elected to continuing terms on the SCPA Executive Committee were: Andy Brack, publisher of Charleston City Paper; Chase Heatherly, publisher of The Post and Courier Columbia/Free Times and Chief Revenue Officer for Evening Post Publishing Newspaper Group; and Abbie Sossamon, associate publisher and news editor of The Gaffney Ledger.

Swenson succeeds Don Kausler Jr. of Florence, contributing editor to the Index-Journal.

“We regularly hear about the challenges faced by newspapers, but ours is a business that routinely brings new challenges with every deadline. The last two years have shown how well South Carolina’s newspapers can adapt to meet challenges unlike any others,” Swenson said. “In the last three weeks, we have seen fresh evidence of the vital role a free press plays in preserving democracy.”

Swenson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from University College London. He was later a Reuters Foundation fellow at Oxford University.

He founded the Coastal Observer newspaper in Pawleys Island in 1982. He continues to operate the paper with his wife, M.P. “Squeaky” Swenson, and their son, Trevor.

In addition to serving on the board of the SCPA, he is chairman of the board of the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, which has the mission of improving the quality of life for Georgetown County residents.

The press association was founded in 1852 and serves the state’s 15 daily and 74 weekly newspapers.

The election was held during a virtual Annual Business Meeting on March 16.

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