How The Discussion Began
Even though I have lived in Charleston for over 40 years I was not familiar with the case of Juliet Clark’s murder, though I had heard some comments about it here and there. With the advent of the internet many years ago, my interest in criminology came to bear, and I stumbled across the case and several others of local interest.
When I was at my spouse’s high school reunion several years ago, it was pointed out to me by one of her classmates, who was in the newspaper business in New York City, how unusual it was that Charleston was still a “two-newspaper” town and that this was unusual by today’s standards, even in much larger cities. (Even though the joint operating agreement concept was not new to the industry of course, and this was arranged between the two papers in the late 1950’s – simply to leverage economies of scale by sharing one physical plant – the two newspapers operated on separate platforms with opposing political ideology for decades until the complete merger of the recent past and the acquisition by HD Media. This was true even when the holding company of the Gazette owned a significant share of the Daily Mail for many years.
Back to the advent of the internet – it would be interesting to know the backstory, but some enterprising employee (or employees) of the Charleston Daily Mail seized the web domain name, “dailymail.com” back when most people didn’t even know what a web domain name was. This was always interesting to me, because this meant that THE Daily Mail (UK) did not seize the name when the opportunity existed. Apparently, this was the source of much consternation at the much larger newspaper in London with world-wide reach, and finally, when it was clear that The Charleston Daily Mail’s time had come, this web domain name was finally sold to THE Daily Mail (UK) in November, 2013 for the sum of $1,600,000 (estimated). Read Full Article >
(I know that there was much legal backlash over this transaction, and I expressly will not in any way attempt to address any of those issues). But I read in The Charleston Daily Mail one day (before I knew the specifics of any transaction regarding the domain name) that the local paper would be changing its web domain name to “CharlestonDailyMail.com”.
Knowing that THE Daily Mail (UK) most certainly had wanted this domain name, and knowing that our local paper had snagged it in the early days of the internet, I put 2 and 2 together and then looked a little further to prove my theory. This spurred my interest in the history of the newspaper, knowing that the Clay family had much to do with it, as former owners and publishers. So, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I began researching the history of The Charleston Daily Mail. I typed that into a search engine (I refuse to say, “I ‘googled’ it”), and up comes a photo of WALTER ELI CLARK! Who’s THAT guy? And, shortly after that, I stumbled back on to the story of Juliet Lyell Staunton Clay Clark and her murder, which I had seen references to on-line, and my research for what became Murder on Staunton Road began.
Subsequently, my spouse and I had visited with Charlie and Becky Ryan at their beautiful home on Hilton Head Island (we were both residents there), and the discussion began. What ensued was a wonderful collaboration with Charlie, and now at long last, the “book that was never written” has come, in honor of her memory and all of the families of Staunton Road.