(Rock Hill, S.C.) – Mac Banks has seen a lot of changes in the print industry since he graduated from Winthrop University in 1999, including the closure of hundreds of newspapers and the loss of thousands of jobs in print media.
Banks — who currently writes for the Lancaster News — was the last employee at the Fort Mill Times, covering high school sports, when the paper shutdown operations in April 2020.
Since then, Banks has started Fort Mill Prep Sports, which is a website that covers high school sports in Fort Mill township, including the schools Catawba Ridge, Fort Mill and Nation Ford.
“It’s still fairly new and young platform, but just the way print media has dropped off, and I’m coming from a print media background, the way print media has dropped off in the past couple years has really made other platforms come to the surface,” said Banks.
“It allows for me, especially in this area, to concentrate on one particular area of York County and just concentrate on those three (Fort Mill) high schools.”
Banks, who has also covered sports for the Rock Hill Herald and the Aiken Standard over his 20-plus-year career in media, was a guest on the Palmetto Report podcast to discuss the site.
“I thought there was a need to cover prep sports in the Fort Mill area,” he said. “I know a lot of the print media locally, has kind of tapered off in recent years, so they don’t have as much in-depth coverage of prep sports, especially high school athletics.
“Just knowing that these high schools don’t get the coverage that they deserve and it’s not necessarily the newspaper’s fault as much as it’s just the way things are now with print media. There’s not as many employees, thus things have to fall by the wayside and a lot of times that is high school sports,” he said.
“This is a way that these teams still can get covered, these kids can still get covered and then we can, basically just concentrate on these three high schools that are kind of near and dear to where I am,” said Banks, who has lived in Fort Mill most of his life.
“It’s a way for me to kind of give back to the community. To kind of focus on and let people know in Fort Mill and outside of Fort Mill, just what Fort Mill and Fort Mill high schools have to offer.”
Banks said he has plans to expand the reach of Fort Mill Prep Sports, by posting content on a number of social media platforms. The outlet is already active on Facebook and Twitter, but has recently expanded to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
He said he hopes his coverage might help with recruiting, as high school athletes look to continue their careers at the collegiate level.
“If college coaches see people or read an article, then they can hopefully go to those (social platforms) and see the highlights,” he said. “Hopefully just through the coverage, then it lets coaches know out there that, hey Fort Mill’s a place where it can produce real good athletes.”