Community journalist Denise Etheridge has been named the Coastal Courier’’s editor. She was a staff writer for the Courier in 2009 through 2011, and again from 2013-2014. She primarily covered the military, healthcare, education, economic development, and city and county government.
Managing Editor Jeff Whitten, who oversaw both the Courier and the Bryan County News’ editorial departments, will now work exclusively with the News in Richmond Hill.
“We are so excited to be able to welcome back Denise Etheridge to our team,” Courier and News General Manager Patty Leon said. “Her journalistic integrity is impeccable as is her commitment to the communities of Liberty and Long counties. I am also thrilled for Jeff Whitten. He has truly demonstrated his commitment to residents in Liberty, Long and Bryan counties as he managed to produce the editorial content of the two publications. I am confident that Denise and Jeff will dive into the task of bringing the readers of each publication engaging and informative content that impacts your community.”
“I am excited to step into the editor role here at the Courier,” Etheridge said. “I’ve seen how our local community has grown over the years, and being able to address that growth editorially while still reflecting the community’s hometown character will be a challenge and a privilege.”
Decades ago, Etheridge earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens. She also met her husband, Frank Etheridge, at UGA. Frank Etheridge is the county administrator in Long County. He served as an officer in the Air Force, both active and reserve, for a combined 14 years.
Etheridge’s husband spent his teen years in Hinesville and graduated from Bradwell Institute. Her late father-in-law, Norman Etheridge, was stationed at Fort Stewart and settled in Hinesville when he retired from the Army. Etheridge’s late mother-in-law, Maria Etheridge, managed the dry cleaners on Fort Stewart for a number of years. Once married, Etheridge and her husband Frank visited Hinesville many times over the years to spend holidays and other family celebrations with his family.
Etheridge began a full-time journalism career with the Walton Sun in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. As a fledging reporter, she covered arts, entertainment and culture, as well as environmental issues. Etheridge was soon assigned to hard news beats, including breaking news such as car crashes, fires and drownings, crime, courts and local government.
When she and her family relocated to Georgia, Etheridge reported for or served as an editor at numerous small town newspapers, including: the Tribune and Georgian in St. Marys, the White County News in Cleveland, the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, the Cuthbert Southern Tribune in Cuthbert, the Baldwin Bulletin in Milledgeville, the News and the Courier in Hinesville.
Etheridge and her husband live in Ludowici. They have two grown children.