The free, independent press is under attack and has been for a while. Local
newspapers have been the hardest hit by the concept of national news sources
conglomerated along political and iCharldeological lines. For a nation and world in
desperate need of positive change, the “fourth estate” is (or at least should be) an
unbiased moderator of conversations around improving society. Unfortunately, not only have local news outlets become marginalized, many have been under near constant attack and demonized for asking the hard questions.
Charleston, South Carolina is a perfect petri dish for societal changes in a time of racial and political division. The Charleston Post and Courier is the oldest daily news source in the South, tracing its history (with brand iterations) to the Charleston Courier founded in 1803. It continues to serve the community as an independent news source. Post and Courier journalist Adam Parker speaks with The Good Road hosts Earl Bridges and Craig Martin about this moment in time related to Charleton’s development related to race relations, religion and government. Aboard Adam’s sailboat in Charleston Harbor, the three storytellers discuss the fate of journalism and the role of journalists to make positive societal change.
In 2018 the New York Times reported on the Charleston Rifle Club and their refusal to admit what would have been the first black member, renowned Charleston physician Dr. Melvin Brown after Adam broke the story. Conversations with Dr. Melvin Brown and Toby Smith of the Mcleod Plantation’s African American Experience of plantations provide further insight into racial inequities and the negative impact of revisionist histories. But, sitting with one of a handful of black journalists at the Post and Courier, Rickey Dennis, he and his mentor Adam Parker address past issues but also provide a way forward. The hope for progressive and positive change lies not only in stories told by independent news outlets, but also in a new, diverse mix of reporters telling those stories.