Sale of Times complete

Published 11:07 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The sale of The Smithfield Times is complete.

Smithfield Newsmedia LLC, a company formed by veteran Virginia newspaperman Steve Stewart, acquired the century-old newspaper and all related print and digital products from John and Anne Edwards in a transaction that was completed Thursday afternoon. The Edwardses had owned the newspaper since 1986.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s an honor to succeed John and Anne, who could not have been more gracious and helpful in ensuring a smooth transition for our readers and advertisers,” said Stewart, 52, a former publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald and The Tidewater News in Franklin. “Our commitment is to honor their legacy of journalistic service to the people of Isle of Wight and Surry.” {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

John Edwards will serve as publisher-emeritus and continue to write his weekly column, In the Short Rows. Longtime Managing Editor Diana McFarland has been promoted to editor, with responsibility for all news and opinion content. Stewart will serve as publisher while continuing his duties as senior vice president of Boone Newspapers Inc. (BNI), of which The Smithfield Times will be an affiliate along with the Suffolk and Franklin newspapers. BNI was founded by former Suffolk News-Herald Publisher Jim Boone.

Tidewater News Publisher Tony Clark and Suffolk News-Herald Publisher John Carr are stockholders in the newly formed Smithfield Newsmedia and will assist Stewart with general management of The Smithfield Times and Slice magazine.

Stewart, a Mississippi native, is a veteran editor and publisher of community newspapers throughout the South. In 2005, he served as the inaugural John Emmerich/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford in England. He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Mississippi. 

Stewart has won numerous writing and editing awards from state press associations, The Associated Press and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. He has been active in Rotary for 25 years, having served as president of the Franklin club. He is a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary’s highest honor.

Stewart currently serves as president of the Virginia Press Association, which represents the interests of newspapers in the commonwealth.

In addition to The Smithfield Times, he is majority owner of The Coastland Times, the newspaper of record for the Outer Banks, and has ownership interest in newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.

His wife, Rhonda, is a former executive director of the Village at Woods Edge senior living community in Franklin. She currently works in nursing leadership for University of Kentucky HealthCare.

The Stewarts currently live in Kentucky but plan to move eventually to Isle of Wight.

“The timetable will be determined by several factors, including Rhonda’s career options after she completes her current pursuit of a post-graduate degree in nursing leadership,” Stewart said. “We love Western Tidewater, which was our home for 10 years and a place where we maintain many friendships that are special to us. We look forward to calling it home again.”

Stewart can be reached at or at 757-653-1995.  {/mprestriction}