Sampson County native Sherry Matthews has been named publisher of The Sampson Independent. She will also continue as the daily newspaper’s editor. The announcement was made late last week by Kent Kilpatrick, regional director of the Carolinas Division of Civitas Media, the parent company of The Sampson Independent.
“I am extremely pleased that we were able to promote someone like Sherry, who has many years in the newspaper industry, to the very important role of publisher,” Kilpatrick said. “Sherry’s vast amount of experience in Clinton and Sampson County, along with her many local relationships, will help serve our readers and advertising partners well as we push forward to make the Independent better than ever before.”
Matthews is a native of Sampson County and a 23-year veteran with the local newspaper, having returned to her hometown in June 1992 as a reporter for The Sampson Independent. In 1994, Matthews took the helm as editor. She added general manager to her title in 2003 and then was given the title editor/community relations manager in 2012.
She began her career as a journalist in 1982 and has worked for weeklies, bi-weeklies and dailies in North and South Carolina since that time.
“I appreciate the company’s confidence in me,” Matthews noted following the company’s announcement. “I especially appreciate the desire that Mr. Kilpatrick and our CEO, Mr. Ralph Martin, have return to the the publisher-style leadership of newspapers, giving us more local autonomy.”
Matthews’ role as publisher will now include local responsibilities and management of the newspaper’s three arms — editorial, circulation and advertising.
“We have a great team at The Sampson Independent and together, with my circulation manager Wayne Coleman and my media director Shannon Best we will work to provide the best possible customer service to both our subscribers and our advertisers.
“My goal is for this newspaper to be the best and only source for local news in Sampson County and surrounding areas,” Matthews asserted.
According to Matthews, she and her staff strive for excellence in customer service as well as providing accurate and getting it out to the public in a timely and effective manner.
“From our general administration, to our journalists, to our sales department, to our circulation staff, they all believe, like myself, that customer service is of the utmost importance. And that will be an even bigger focus now than it ever has before.”
Matthews stressed the great honor it is to be named as publisher of the daily newspaper, one she calls a community institution because of its more than 90 years of existence in Sampson.
“Our goal is to make this paper the best daily newspaper it can be,” Matthews attested. “We strive for excellence, always putting our customers and advertisers first.”
Matthews is a strong supporter of the Sampson community and believes in giving back. She serves as a member of the Clinton-Sampson Rotary Club, as a member of the Sampson Community College Foundation, as well as a member of the Fitness Renaissance Board of Directors and the United Way. During her years of service as a Rotarian, she was honored as Rotarian of the Year in 2010, served as president from 2010-2012 and currently serves as the membership committee chair. She is also a member of Snow Hill Free Will Baptist Church.
In her journalism career, Matthews has won four N.C. Press Association awards and three N.C. School Bell Awards for excellence in education reporting.