Change greeted with open arms

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, December 9, 2012

Change can be difficult – usually not as tough or as dramatic as our minds may envision, but always fraught with a healthy combination of angst and excitement. This is certainly an exciting time for my family and me. I hope you share my excitement and enthusiasm to help us at “your” newspaper, The Daily Leader, continue to build on the strong legacy of dedicated community service established by Bill Jacobs and his family.

     Thanks to all I have met so far for the warm welcome. Bill and Amy Jacobs have been especially gracious at what I can only assume to be a particularly tumultuous time in their lives. So, too, have been all the staff of The Daily Leader. This dedicated group of professionals has been more than tolerant of my repeated questions. If I have achieved nothing else these past few days I have, at the very least, made some new good friends here in Brookhaven.

     I expect two of the questions on most Daily Leader readers’ minds at this point are: Who is this guy and what’s he going to change?

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     By way of personal introduction, I spent my youth on the central coast of California where my mother was born and raised. We moved to a small town in Woodruff County, Ark., upon my high school graduation and my father’s retirement. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in marketing. My first opportunity to work for a newspaper was in 1982 selling advertising in the small town of Siloam Springs, Ark., near my alma mater.

     While at the U of A, I met and married my college sweetheart, Patti, also from Woodruff County. We’ve walked side-by-side now for more than 30 years, and together we raised two wonderful children of whom we are very proud. Both currently live in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Our son, Brian, graduated from the University of Alabama and currently works for The Tuscaloosa News as the web content editor of and its related web sites. Our daughter, Kinsey, is headed into her final semester at the University of Alabama and, like her mother, is studying special education. Her desire is to teach and work with children with severe special needs.

     My newspaper career has taken us throughout the South, from Arkansas to Missouri to Alabama where we joined the Boone Newspapers family in the mid 1980s, settling in Troy, Ala. There I published the daily Troy Messenger and worked with several of my associate publishers in neighboring communities.

     An opportunity offered by a dear and trusted friend to lead his group of newspapers took us to Texas in 2001. Patti, our children and I made our home in Georgetown. There I was president of Granite Publications and during that time we grew the company from 14 to 22 community newspaper publications. The Granite organization, like Boone Newspapers and the Jacobs family, is rooted in the principle that building a strong community newspaper company is achieved by helping to build strong communities in which we are privileged to serve.

     As our children went off to college and we became empty-nesters, Patti and I sought to get back to the Deep South, closer to family and life-long friends. Our prayers were to find a place with a strong sense of community, a community that provided a solid balance of progressive ideals with high moral values. We sought a place where we could serve toward building a richer community through our work, our church and our civic involvement. I believe and trust the Lord led us to the right place, here in Brookhaven.

     To the second question of “What’s he going to change?,” the answer is simple – Not much. My role as publisher of your newspaper is to continue to build on the legacy of exemplary community service demonstrated by the Jacobs family these past 54 years. The Daily Leader’s print edition will continue to serve as the firm foundation for innovative development in providing local news and information across increasing platforms in this new digital age.  Local newspapers continue to occupy a unique position in their communities by providing valuable and vitally important local information, and that’s what will keep us viable and relevant to our readers and advertisers for many more years to come.

     With all this said, please know that this column each week will not always be about my family and me. The Daily Leader is Brookhaven’s newspaper, and my role here is to lead all of us at “your” Daily Leader to serve and build a better community for everyone who calls Brookhaven home. My door is always open, and I welcome your questions, ideas and comments.  Thank you again for the warm welcome, and I look forward in the days and weeks ahead to meet and make more good friends and acquaintances like those I’ve met so far.

     Rick Reynolds is president/publisher of The Daily Leader. Contact him at