Martin started in the newspaper business as a cub reporter/photographer in the Spring of 1965. Since that time, he has worked for The Savannah Morning News and The Spartanburg Herald-Journal and served two stints with The Gaffney Ledger, the last as its Editor. He left The Ledger in 1991 to open a bi-weekly newspaper, The Cherokee Chronicle, in his hometown of Gaffney, and still serves as that paper’s Editor/Publisher today. Talk about a “family newspaper,” The Chronicle’s six full-time staff members include Tommy’s wife, Ann, as its Business Manager; son Jonathan as its Managing Editor and primary page designer; youngest son Joshua as a weekly Religion page columnist; and daughter-in-law Corie as a part-time sports photographer. His daughter Tiffany and four grandchildren live out of town or they would probably be employed, too.
Tommy has won scores of state, national and Associated Press awards over the past 47 years and still writes a popular weekly column, along with covering county council and school board meetings and emptying the trash regularly, as he likes to say. Some friends in the business have said that Tommy Martin is one of the last of a dying breed of old-time newspaper junkies with ink under their fingernails who still love the thrill of a “scoop.” Perhaps they are right. Tommy says. “I think I’ll retire when I hit 70 – which will be 50 years since I started this darn job” he says with a smile. “But if I’m working on a hot story at the time, don’t hold me to that deadline!”