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Chester County Independent: Made in Tennessee


We're continuing our hometown newspaper tour in Chester County at the Chester County Independent. This newspaper started way back in 1864 It is now the oldest operating business in the county.

For Imagine Valley Publishing Group publisher Scott Whaley the paper been a huge part of his life, “My mother and father bought the paper here in 1965 and I was six years old and I had my own paper route and that's kind of when I started… I went from having my own route to running the paper route to writing some and a little bit learning here and there and just every aspect of the business I've been involved in at one time or the other.”

Scott Whaley believes local newspapers are important, “I can get national news anywhere I want to, but i can't get news about Chester County and the people in Chester County other than this paper”

Editor Kendall Patterson has worked at the paper for 3 years and does most of the writing,

“I just really enjoy being a part of the community and doing coverage, whether it be school coverage or event coverage of different big events like barbecue festival or whatnot. i just, just really come to love just the county," he said.

Whaley and the staff at the Chester county independent strive to take a hometown approach to journalism

“we have refrigerator journalism we want pictures of kids and papers and sports and kids and parents to cut them out...put them on Facebook…and give them to the grandmothers and put them in scrapbooks. that's what we're all about,” Whaley said.

The Independent also has also covered plenty of the major news stories Whaley says,

“one of the biggest ones that the paper is covered in was before my time was the big tornado that hit here in 1952. it's for a long time there were more people killed in this tornado than there ever had been. I think we were about 23 people killed or so”

To this day the Whaley family name is synonymous with the Chester County Independent paper.

“I always think about the Whaley family when we talk about the independent majors, that they're their legacy to that newspaper here in this community," said Mayor Bobby King Henderson mayor.

and King agrees the newspaper is good for the community

“I think of local newspapers, important small town that get information on what's going on in the schools, the sport, you know, and just the local information that they that they are the only ones that will cover."

Whaley says the paper could not have stayed around for over 150 years without evolving over the years, "We're like everyone else. we're changing the way we do business. we're getting more involved in the digital age than we have been, and we'll continue to do that.”

The paper now puts out both print and digital editions.

3 to 4 thousand copies are printed every Thursday.

Every print of the Independent since 1930 can be viewed at the Chester County library in Henderson

“Chester County Independent, made in Tennessee”

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