The Laurens County Advertiser is a twice-weekly, family-owned newspaper serving the Laurens County community since 1885. The Advertiser currently prints a Wednesday paid-circulation edition and a Saturday total-market-coverage Extra edition. Current circulation totals are 6,000 on Wednesday and 19,500 on Saturday.
Originally started as The Laurens Advertiser by 22-year-old J.C. Garlington, the newspaper faced the competition of the town’s established paper, The Laurensville Herald.
In 1890, William Watts Bell of Laurens bought The Laurens Advertiser, reorganized it and ran it successfully until it was sold to Arthur Lee in 1910.
Lee and his brother Allie Lee, as well as two friends, H.D. Rantin and W.W. Harris, joined together and bought The Clinton Chronicle, located across the county in Clinton. Within a few years, however, Allie Lee sold his portion of The Chronicle and bought out the rest of The Advertiser, becoming the sole owner in Laurens.
W.J. “Jim” Brown came to work for Lee in 1949. Legend has it the brash young editor told his boss, “I could run this paper better than you.” He got his chance in 1959 when Lee decided to retire, selling the paper to Brown and David Harman, Brown’s brother-in-law. Brown eventually bought out Harman’s share and it has remained in the Brown family ever since.
Under Brown, the paper expanded to start covering the entire county in the 1970s and was renamed The Laurens County Advertiser. After his death in 2002, the newspaper continued under three of W.J.’s sons, Marc, Chris and Jim, as associate publishers, until Chris passed away in late 2008
On April 1, 2009, remaining associate publishers Marc and Jim Brown expanded the newspaper’s reach worldwide, officially launching its website, www.laurenscountyadvertiser.net.
During the 130 years since its inception there have been only those four primary publishing families involved in the paper, making The Advertiser the county’s oldest privately-owned business continuously in operation.
The Advertiser continues to print its own newspaper, as well as numerous other community and specialty publications, on an eight-unit Color King press.