Editorial Board


Don Swartz

Don Swartz, Publisher, has more than 30 years in the newspaper industry working with several publications including The New York Times, Paxton Newspapers and Morris Multimedia.

He is owner/publisher of The News Journal, The Hartsville News Journal, The Marion County News Journal and The Chesterfield County News & Shopper, all a part of Swartz Media.

He and his wife Cathy have two young daughters, Cassie and Lara and attend Central United Methodist Church.

Brenda English Harrison

Brenda Harrison, Editor, has been with The News Journal since 1988.

A Florence native, she has over 40 years experience in the newspaper industry. She serves on the board of the House of Hope of Pee Dee Ministries and the Florence Little Theatre. She serves on committees for Arts International, Art Trail Gallery, McLeod Regional Medical Center's Cancer Benefit and Circle Park's Florence County Coalition.

She has three grandchildren and is a member of First Baptist Church.

Allie E. Brooks Jr.

Alllie E. Brooks Jr. is a retired educator with Florence School District 1 and is now serving as superintendent. He was principal of Wilson High School, 1974-2005. He served as principal of Wilson High School from 1974 until 2005.

Brooks earned a B.S. degree in mathmatics at S.C. State University in 1968 and a masters degree in education administration from the University of South Carolina in 1974. He completed an Institute on the Principal and School Improvement at Harvard University in 1987. He received an honorary doctorate from Francis Marion University in December 2005.

He is a native of Florence. He is married to Barbara E. Brooks and they have a son, Allie Eugene III, and two daughters, DeAnne Fredrica and Thelma Susanna.

Keith Buckhouse

Keith Buckhouse is Florence City Executive with NBSC.

He has a B.S. degree in business administration-finance from the University of South Carolina. He is past chairman of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and current treasurer, a past president and member of the Florence West Rotary Club.

He and his wife Coleman Floyd Buckhouse have three children.

Lyn Felling

Lyn Felling is owner of AdVentures Ads/PR, a local advertising established in 1985.

A graduate of Baylor University, Lyn moved to this area in 1981. She is a past president of the Timmonsville Rotary Club and has been involved in many civic and non-profit organizations.

She is married to Chris Felling and they live in Timmonsville.

Vera Herbert

Vera Herbert is vice president and credit review officer with Carolina Bank. She is a graduate of Clemson University and USC and LSU Banking Schools.

She is a member of the Junior League of Florence, the Florence Kiwanis Club, board member of Florence County Progress, Inc, board member of Independent Banks of South Carolina and Central United Methodist Church.

She is married to Jamie Herbert and they have a daughter and a son.

Thomas C. "Tom" Pietila

Thomas C. “Tom” Pietila, a retired senior minister of Central United Methodist Church, serves as chaplain at McLeod Regional Medical Center.

Born in Painesville, Ohio, Tom received his B.A. from Hiram College in 1974 and his M. Div. from Duke Divinity School in 1977.

He and his wife, Lindy, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Jay Shealy

Jay Shealy is the sales manager for Shealy Insurance Agency. He also serves a a senior risk manager.

Jay is a native of Florence and a 1992 gradutate of the University of South Carolina.

S. Porter Stewart II

S. Porter Stewart II is a local attorney with the McGowan Rogers Law Firm, 229 S. Coit St. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. degree and the University of South Carolina with a J.D. degree.

Porter currently serves as chairman of the Florence School District 1 Board of Trustees.

He and his wife Connie have two daughters.

Mindy Taylor

Mindy Taylor is the District Manager for Duke Energy Progress. In this capacity, she is responsible for overseeing corporate contributions, community relations programs, issue management, and public relations for an eight county region in South Carolina. Mindy graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. degree in economics.

Mindy is a 2006 graduate of Leadership South Carolina and serves on the Florence-Darlington Technical College Foundation Board of Directors, News Journal Editorial Board, Hartsville Chamber Board of Directors, Kershaw County Chamber Board of Directors, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science Board of Directors, First Reliance Bank Board of Advisors, and is a member of the Florence Rotary Club.

She and her husband, Bill, have three grown children.

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