Camden Media Co. announces today that Chronicle-Independent (C-I) staff reporter Gary Phillips is now the newspaper’s assistant editor. The C-I also has a new Localife editor with the hiring of Simone T. Owens.
Phillips joined the C-I in December 2013. He started in journalism in the early 1990s as news director for a radio station in his hometown of Dexter, Mo. Phillips moved to South Carolina in 1997 and was hired by radio station WAGL in Lancaster. He moved to south Florida in 2000 and worked there as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and a major magazine. Phillips returned to South Carolina in early 2011 to take a job as editor for The (Pageland) Progressive Journal.
“I have worked for a few newspaper companies, large and small, through the years, and Camden Media Co. is, by far, the best,” Phillips said. “It’s exciting to come to work every day for a newspaper that has true leadership and a real understanding of how community journalism should be. This newsroom is a great team that works together for the good of the newspaper and the entire community.”
Camden Media Co. Publisher Mike Mischner and C-I Editor Martin L. Cahn said the decision to promote Phillips was an easy one to make.
“Although Gary has only been with us a short time, we have come to value his journalistic ability,” Mischner said. “It is my pleasure to promote him to our news management team.”
“Naming Gary as assistant editor recognizes the work he has already done and his lengthy experience in the news business,” Cahn said. “In addition to being an excellent writer, Gary has already assisted me with proofing copy and making editorial decisions, in addition to helping the management team make important decisions about the direction of our news operations. There is no question that he can be our ‘go to guy’ whenever I’m absent from the newsroom.”
In addition to being hired as the C-I’s new Localife editor, Owens will also be the newspaper’s education reporter, covering KershawHealth Board of Trustees meetings, generating feature stories from the district’s schools and reporting on other education-related issues.
Owens graduated from Winthrop University in August with a bachelor of arts degree in English creative writing as she completed a summer internship with The (Florence) News Journal. At the Journal, she wrote articles, pitched story ideas, edited press releases and other articles, conducted interviews and took pictures. Owens also maintained two blogs while at Winthrop, a personal one and one for a class. She wrote opinion pieces and about “life lessons.”
While at Winthrop, Owens also spent the Spring 2012 semester working for the university’s newspaper, The Johnsonian, writing about and taking pictures of events on and around campus.
Originally from Tulsa, Okla., Owens lived in South Carolina once before for several months before moving back to McAlister, Okla.. She and her family then moved to Madison, Ala., where she lived before moving to Florence.
Owens wrote a 70-page short novel, Everyone Has Flaws, published in 2010, about a girl relocating to Florida and trying to fit in but who ends up in a physically abusive relationship.
“Simone may be a relative newcomer to the business, but she has already proven in her first week that she’s a hard worker -- a ‘go-getter’ who seeks out stories to tell. I know she’ll do well in both her roles as she continues to grow as a journalist,” Cahn said.
Owens is currently commuting from Florence but plans to move to Kershaw County as soon as possible.