By: E&P Staff
Herbert Marc “Tippen” Davidson Jr., the president, CEO, and co-editor of The News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Fla., died this morning from complications of a staph infection. He was 81.
Davidson, whose family owns the majority of the News-Journal, was an active member in the Daytona Beach community founding such projects as the Seaside Music Theater, a professional musical venue.
The newspaper has been in the Davidson family, which owns a majority stake, for 79 years.
The News-Journal reported Davidson’s death this morning.
In a statement to News-Journal employees, Publisher Georgia Kaney wrote “like his father and grandfather before him, Tippen has made plans to insure that the newspaper will continue to do business under Davidson family ownership.”
Davidson was born in 1925 in Chicago to Herbert and Liliane Davidson. The family moved to Daytona Beach in 1928 along with Davidson’s grandparents, Julius and Rose Davidson, after the family bought the News-Journal.
After studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and working for a year as a professional musician, Davidson served as a reporter for the News-Journal in 1947 to 1949. He then went to the Chicago Daily News for a year before returning to his family’s paper eventually serving as managing editor. In 1962 he was appointed vice president and general manager. He assumed the role of president, publisher, and co-editor after the death of his father in 1985.
Davidson’s wife, the late Josephine Davidson, served as co-editor of the News-Journal from 1985 until her death in 1995.
In 1998, Davidson handed the duties of daily operations over to his assistant Kaney, who was named publisher. Davidson became CEO, president, and co-editor in order to concentrate on community projects.
Davidson’s son Marc Leon Davidson is editor of the newspaper’s online services. His daughter Julia Rose Davidson Truilo also worked closely with her father. Truilo’s husband Robert serves as a business manager for the News-Journal.
When asked what his most important accomplishment was, the News-Journal quoted Davidson: “Keeping the News-Journal a family-operated, local newspaper now and well into the future.”
In recent years, the paper has been in a shareholder fight with its minority-owner, Cox Newspapers, over funding for the Seaside Music Theater. The News-Journal Corp. paid $13 million in official naming rights for the theater, which is now called the News-Journal Center. Cox sued the News-Journal Corp. alleging “fraud, waste, and mismanagement.” The lawsuit triggered legislation that allows for the majority owner to buyout the minority party. Cox agreed to sell its shares to the Davidson family. A federal district judge said the value of Cox’s stake is worth $129.2 million. The News-Journal filed an appeal in November.
“Tippen’s death will not affect the legal battle with Cox, the family’s ownership of the newspaper, or continuity of newspaper management and operations,” wrote Kaney in a statement.