Norfolk’s ‘Virginian-Pilot’ Names New Publisher

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By: Joe Strupp

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., has named Maurice Jones its new publisher, the paper reported Thursday.

Currently vice president and general manager of the paper, Jones succeeds Bruce Bradley, who remains president of the Landmark Publishing Group, which owns the Virginian-Pilot and several papers under Norfolk-based Landmark Communications Inc.

Jones, 43, will take over on April 14 and become the first black publisher of a Landmark Communications newspaper, the paper reported.
“I hope that in whatever period of time I have to do this job, I won’t be remembered as just the first black publisher,” Jones told the paper. “I hope people will say, ‘This guy made a positive contribution to this place.'”

In its announcement story, the newspaper made clear that Jones would have little or no honeymoon in the new post, noting he “is stepping in at a time of uncertainty in the media industry and The Pilot.

“Nearly all newspapers are suffering profit declines, the national economy is struggling, and The Pilot might get a new owner later this year,” the paper added, reminding readers of earlier reports that the paper might be sold. “In January, Landmark officials announced they would explore selling all of the company’s properties, including The Pilot and The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta.”

But that did not lower Jones’ positive outlook. “This is a wonderful time to be the publisher because the challenges have never been greater for the whole industry, and I love challenges,” he said.

A native of Kenbridge, Va., Jones graduated Hampden-Sydney College and then went to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He later received a law degree from the University of Virginia.

Jones has worked for the U.S. Treasury Department, the law firm of Hunton & Williams, and former Gov. Mark Warner as deputy chief of staff and commissioner of social services, the paper reported.

He joined Landmark Communications in March 2005 and was named to his current post in January 2006. In that job, Jones oversaw about a dozen departments, including advertising, circulation and human resources.

“I came here,” he said, “because I wanted to be at a place where I’d have the opportunity both to learn how to run a profitable business and perform a public service, which is what we do every day.”

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