ROCKINGHAM — After more than 75 years in Harrington Square, the Richmond County Daily Journal will have a new home.
A crew from one of its sister papers, The Robesonian of Lumberton, made the westerly trip down U.S. 74 on Friday to help Daily Journal staffers move boxes, desks and other equipment to the new office at 607 E. Broad Ave., in the old Easter Seals building between Rick and Al’s Carwash and Arron’s.
During the cleanup, editor William R. Toler found several gems including an autographed headshot of actor Dustin Hoffman — from when he was in Hamlet for the production of “Billy Bathgate” — and the resume of former reporter Mary Katharine Ham, who began her career at the Daily Journal before eventually moving on to be a contributor for FOX News and CNN.
“While, for nostalgic reasons, it’s a bit sad moving from downtown, I look forward to continuing the paper from the new office,” said Toler, who joined the staff three years ago.
The Richmond County Journal was founded by Scott M. Thomas in 1931 and sold to Neal Cadieu Sr. in 1937 for $1,400. At the time, Cadieu was owner and operator of the City Printery and ran the Hamlet News-Messenger with his brother Roy.
Cadieu moved the paper to its location on Harrington Square and it became the Richmond County Daily Journal in 1964 when production increased to five days a week.
Neal Cadieu Jr. was named editor in the mid-1950s and took over as publisher in 1967.
Reporters and editors were added to the fold as the Daily Journal absorbed Richmond County’s other newspapers. The Cadieu family had bought out the Rockingham Post-Dispatch in 1953 and phased out the Hamlet News-Messenger in 1974.
In the late 1980s, Cadieu was approached by Roy H. Park, the president of media conglomerate Park Communications. His company owned newspapers in Moore and Robeson counties and “very much wanted to add the Journal because it was in that vicinity,” Cadieu said.
Park purchased the Daily Journal in 1989. With its founder’s health in decline, Cadieu would later call Park Communications “a disappointment to Richmond County.”
Roy Park died of a heart attack in 1993 and his company was sold for $710 million. Community Newspapers Inc. bought the Daily Journal in 1995.
Cadieu said CNI helped the paper rebound following a few years of mismanagement, writing in 2006 that the company “places emphasis on good journalism and takes pride in winning press awards.”
On Sept. 1, 2006 — seven days before the Daily Journal would celebrate its 75th year — CNI sold the paper to Heartland Publications.
Six years later, venture capital firm Versa Capital Management merged Heartland with two other newspaper chains to form Civitas Media.
Champion Media, headquarted in Mooresville, acquired the Daily Journal and Civitas’ other North and South Carolina newspapers in June.