The Charleston City Paper, the Lowcountry’s alternative newspaper read by more than 110,000 people every week, has a new ownership team committed to its legacy of publishing vibrant, incisive local news and information.

“We’ve got the best audience in America,” said outgoing publisher Noel Mermer. “This is exciting news for our community because it will allow an experienced local ownership team to take the reins of what has become Charleston’s preferred news outlet for students and young families who want the best local information on arts, culture, music, and more.”

City Paper Publishing LLC, a partnership of Georgetown lawyer Ed Bell and Charleston publisher Andy Brack, took over the award-winning independent weekly on Oct. 16. Brack, whose syndicated column has appeared for the last year in the newspaper, will serve as publisher.

Mermer founded the newspaper in 1997 with advertising director Blair Barna and former editor Stephanie Barna. Blair Barna will continue as advertising director and a key member of the newspaper’s management team. Mermer and Stephanie Barna will serve as consultants to the newspaper.


“Along with our seasoned team of news, advertising and design professionals, the new ownership team will build on the City Paper‘s legacy and continue to produce the best weekly newspaper in the country,” Mermer said. “Having Ed and Andy at the helm provides outstanding stability for the City Paper‘s dedicated team of professionals and for loyal readers who dive into the paper every Wednesday to learn what’s happening and just plain cool.”

Bell, one of the co-owners of the nationally-renowned Garden & Gun magazine, said the Charleston City Paper offers a valuable public service to the Charleston area.

“What I love about the City Paper is its commitment to excellence and providing an alternative leadership voice in the greater Charleston community,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to provide compelling content that will inform readers about what’s happening — out in the open and behind closed doors.”

Brack, who is longtime publisher of the online Statehouse Report policy forecast, said the Charleston City Paper is in a unique position in the Lowcountry.

“Our job is to continue to give an award-winning news publication to area readers that engages them with what’s happening in the Lowcountry and provides community-oriented journalism that will connect them more closely to what’s happening here,” said Brack, a graduate of Duke University who has a master’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We take that mission seriously and it will continue to be reflected online at and will drive our unique news, views arts, and cultural content.”

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