Tag Archives: newspapers

Jones Media Group sold to Minnesota company

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A fourth-generation family-owned media company with newspapers in Tennessee and North Carolina has been purchased by a Minneapolis company.

According to a joint news release from The Adams Publishing Group and Greeneville-based Jones Media, the transaction closed on Thursday for an undisclosed amount.

Tennessee newspapers that are part of the sale include The Greeneville Sun, The Daily Post-Athenian, The Daily Times, The Newport Plain Talk, The Rogersville Review, the News-Herald, The Connection, The Advocate & Democrat, and The Herald-News. North Carolina papers include the Watauga Democrat, The Mountain Times, Ashe Mountain Times, The Avery Journal-Times, and The Blowing Rocket.

Gregg Jones will continue as president and CEO of Jones Media and will succeed his late father, John M. Jones III, as publisher of The Greeneville Sun.

Tennessean to sell home property, relocate

The Tennessean is putting its longtime offices up for sale, as the media company considers a new downtown Nashville home better suited for its expanding digital operation.

So reports The Tennessean. Further:

Though no sales price has been named, the 10-acre property at 1100 Broadway covers a full city block adjacent to the booming Gulch neighborhood and is expected to fetch a sizable price for The Tennessean’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc.

Laura Hollingsworth, president of The Tennessean and USA TODAY Network –Tennessee, said plans call for moving the news, business and sales operations to a yet-to-be-identified space in Nashville.

With more technology, open and collaborative spaces and specialized work areas, that new location would align more closely with the multimedia company’s digital focus, she said.

“We believe this to be critical to our continued success and growth,” Hollingsworth said, adding that the newspaper’s current location was built for the manufacturing era.

Commercial real estate firm CBRE is handling listing of the property’s three adjacent parcels, totaling roughly 435,600 square feet of land area. The site could draw strong interest considering that there are only a few large developable tracts in the downtown area, but real estate observers also see a limited number of potential suitors that could afford it.

John M. Jones, politically active publisher and ‘Merrill’s Marauders’ vet, dies aged 101

John M. Jones, publisher of the Greeneville Sun and World War II veteran who was part of “Merrill’s Marauders” serving behind Japanese lines in Burma, has died at age 101. Jones was also politically active as a Democrat in the 1950s and 1960s, subsequently forming ties with some of the state’s prominent Republicans.

Excerpts from the Greeneville Sun’s report: Continue reading

AP story on reporter Rick Locker’s job change — with Haslam comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Board of Regents has hired longtime Statehouse reporter Richard Locker as the higher education system’s spokesman.

Locker succeeds Monica Greppin-Watts, who is joining the communications team at the University of Alabama.

Locker began covering the state Capitol for The Commercial Appeal of Memphis 33 years ago and has since contributed state government and politics coverage for the Knoxville News Sentinel and The Tennessean of Nashville. He previously worked for the Nashville Banner and the Knoxville Journal.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to cover state government and politics for West Tennesseans all these years, and more recently for a broader audience,” Locker said in statement. “It hurts to leave and I will miss all my colleagues at all three newspapers, all of whom work hard every day to keep Tennesseans informed.”

Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters on Monday that he is happy to see Locker join the Board of Regents, but that he is saddened to see another departure from Statehouse press corps.

“I don’t always agree with what he writes, but he is a professional who does care,” Haslam said. “And he’s been around a long time and has a history about Capitol Hill.”

“It matters that we have fewer and fewer people that have been around and understands what happens with state government,” the governor said. “We all lose when that happens.”

Locker joins the Board of Regents staff as the education system faces major changes. Haslam, a Republican, has taken steps toward giving independent boards to its six four-year universities. Once the four-year schools are spun off, the Board of Regents system will concentrate on the administration of two-year colleges where free tuition is available to any high school graduate.

Locker begins his new job on Friday.

Note: Previous post HERE.

Veteran TN Capitol Hill reporter Rick Locker moves to Board of Regents

Richard “Rick” Locker, a Tennessee Capitol Hill reporter for 34 years and currently providing state government coverage for three major newspapers, has resigned to become communications director for the state Board of Regents.

Locker, a Lincoln County native and University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate, began his newspaper career with the Knoxville Journal, serving there for three years before joining the Nashville Banner staff. He then signed on as Nashville correspondent for the Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 1982.

In 2014, Locker began covering the doings of legislators, governors, state government departments and such for the News Sentinel of Knoxville as well. This year, after Gannett bought the Commercial Appeal and the News Sentinel, his articles began appearing regularly in The Tennessean, too.

At the Board of Regents, Locker will succeed Monica Greppin-Watts, who has taken a position with the University of Alabama. He will begin the new job July 1, Locker said.

Says Locker in an email:

“I love and cherish my time at The Commercial Appeal and more recently at the News Sentinel too. Both are indispensable institutions in their communities, and the coverage they provide is essential to our democracy. It’s been a high honor and a privilege to cover state government and politics for West and East Tennesseans.”

Update/Note: See also the Nashville Scene blog post on Locker’s exit, HERE.

Lee Anderson, veteran Chattanooga newspaperman, dies at age 90

Lee Stratton Anderson, former publisher of the Chattanooga Free Press and one of the longest-serving newspapermen in the nation, died in Atlanta early this morning at age 90, reports the Times-Free Press.

Anderson was a widely known and respected conservative voice, patriot, Christian and civic leader.

Anderson was “a true gentlemen and a great newspaperman,” said Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press and chairman of WEHCO Media.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of an exceptional Tennessean and a Chattanooga icon,” said U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. “Lee Anderson’s impact on our city through his many roles at the paper, his civic service, and his passion for serving others, cannot be overstated. I am fortunate to have known him most of my adult life and will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with the Anderson family, his former colleagues at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and all those across our city and state who were touched by his life.”

Hussman bought the Free Press from the McDonald family in 1998, but he met Anderson years before that. They got to know each other at gatherings such as the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association’s annual convention.

“Everybody in the industry thought so highly of him,” Hussman said.

…U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who also knew Anderson for decades, noted he “never knew a more principled or hardworking newspaper man than Lee Anderson.”

Alexander noted Anderson was in his newspaper office at 400 E. 11th Street between 4:30 and 5 a.m. “pounding out conservative editorials,” he said in a statement.

Anderson “was unfailingly polite and professional. It was a privilege to know him and to read his tightly written opinions. He made an enormous contribution to Chattanooga and to Tennessee.”

Anderson began a 70-year career at the Chattanooga Free Press at age 16 when World War II had decimated the newsroom’s staff. Over the years he wrote feature stories and worked every news beat — from police to business to courts — before covering the Tennessee Legislature and politics at all levels of government, including five national presidential conventions.

Though he was named editor in April 1958, Anderson had been writing many of the editorials since 1948. In addition to being the editorial voice of the newspaper, he was, in effect, the managing editor, directing news coverage for decades through a cadre of departmental editors.

On the passing of Larry Daughtrey

On a professional level, a line in Keel Hunt’s fine tribute to Larry Daughtrey stands out as precisely correct: He wielded a sharp pen with clarity and grace.

The man was a marvelous writer. (Keel includes a couple of samples in his tribute, a recommended read.) And as often stated, he was “a reporter’s reporter,” carefully cultivating people as sources and acquiring vast political knowledge by being an astute listener and voracious reader of anything related to politics, including obscure and arcane stuff few others noticed. He shared other reporters’ disdain of some less astute individuals serving, typically, as middle-level editors. (In the old days, we called them “droolers” – short for drooling idiots.)

Again as Keel notes, he was a mentor to other reporters – including yours truly, even though we were competitors on occasion when I first met him after moving back to Tennessee in late 1976, initially working for UPI and later for the News-Sentinel. (I would disagree with the lead in The Tennessean’s main obituary story that Larry “always broke the story first.” Not always; just very often.) Back then, when newspapers competed more than they collaborated, reporters would nonetheless sit down over a beer or at lunch after the dust had settled on some big-news brouhaha and compare notes and jokes. Learned a lot from Larry in such sessions.
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Veteran TN political reporter Larry Daughtrey dies, age 76

Larry Daughtrey, who reported on Tennessee politics for almost four decades, died Thursday at age 76 following complications from lung disease, according to The Tennessean, the newspaper where he worked most of those years.

Mr. Daughtrey worked as a political reporter at The Tennessean from 1962 to 1997, helping solidify the newspaper’s reputation for crusading journalism while becoming a mentor for dozens of young reporters. He converted to writing a political column for the newspaper after his retirement.

Former Tennessean editor Frank Sutherland, who oversaw the paper during part of Mr. Daughtrey’s tenure, called Mr. Daughtrey a writer of consummate detail, one whose attention to the craft of writing was as respected as his dedication to fairness.

“Larry Daughtrey was a great reporter because he had the best sources of anyone on Capitol Hill,” Sutherland said. “He had the flair of language to tell the stories he had researched.

“His kind of reporting will be missed.”

Mr. Daughtrey, a native of Texas and graduate of Vanderbilt University, was respected on both sides of the political aisle for being tough, but truthful, Sutherland said. Inside The Tennessean, Mr. Daughtrey was a source for the right adjective and the definitive sources.

Daughtrey’s first major contribution came shortly came as a young reporter in 1962, when he was part of a Tennessean investigation that reported on voting fraud that led to the election of Richard Fulton to Congress. He would go on to cover state politics that spanned eight governors, from Frank Clement, the rise of Ned McWherter, to Phil Bredesen.

He also held the distinction of covering every presidential convention from 1964 to 2000.

“It brings me great sadness to hear of the passing of my good friend and former colleague Larry Daughtrey,” former Vice President Al Gore, a colleague of Daughtrey at The Tennessean, said in a written statement. “Larry’s devotion as a reporter, as well as his ability to understand and explain the complex political issues of our time, remain unmatched.

“His work commanded the highest respect from both sides of the aisle and his voice of reason will be missed. My heart goes out to his wife Judge Cissy Daughtrey, daughter Carran and their family.”

Feds OK sale of Memphis, Knoxville newspapers

Federal regulators Thursday approved the $280 million sale of Journal Media Group Inc. to Gannett Co. Inc., clearing the way for Gannett to acquire the company’s newspapers in 14 U.S. markets, including the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and the News Sentinel in Knoxville.

Further from the News Sentinel:

The approval from the U.S. Department of Justice means the deal is expected to close today.

The merger will give Gannett, the owner of USA Today and 92 other daily publications, six daily newspapers in Tennessee, as well as the biggest news outlet in Wisconsin’s largest market.

Combining the companies also strengthens Gannett’s holdings in several other states, including Florida, Indiana and Texas.

The acquisition is part of the transformation of the newspaper industry, which is in transition as consumers and advertisers migrate to the internet. Gannett, based in McLean, Va., describes its USA Today Network as the largest local-to-national news network in the country.

Journal Media Group stockholders will receive $12 per share in cash in the deal, which was approved by shareholders on March 1. Federal regulators needed to sign off before the sale could be completed, because of antitrust rules.

JMG, with about 3,400 employees at the time, was created in April 2015 after The E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications Inc. merged their local TV and radio operations and spun off their newspapers into an independent, publicly traded company based in Milwaukee.

Repeal of newspaper tax exemption abandoned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The sponsor of a proposal to end a Tennessee sales tax exemption for newspapers has removed the bill from consideration for the year.

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire said he introduced the bill (SB1846) because of questions about whether the exemption “was justified in today’s environment.” The Chattanooga Republican said there are too many exemptions in state law, and that he wants to re-examine the issue next year.

According to a legislative analysis, the state forgoes about $11 million a year because periodicals aren’t subject to the tax. Local governments miss out on another $3.9 million.

Gardenhire also sponsored a bill to allow legal notices to be published online instead of in printed newspapers. That measure failed to receive a motion in the State and Local Government Committee last month.