Jack McNeely new president of the Tennessee Press Association

Robyn Gentile | Tennessee Press Association

Jack McNeely

Jack McNeely, publisher of the Herald-Citizen, Cookeville and the Cleveland Daily Banner, is the new president of the Tennessee Press Association (TPA).

“I am honored to be the next president of the Tennessee Press Association,” McNeely said. “I can’t think of a time in our 150+ years when our mission to help news and information publishers achieve greater success has been more important. I look forward to working with my peers in a collective effort to turn challenges into opportunities.

TPA is the trade association for daily and non-daily state newspapers. It is composed of 17 daily newspapers and 116 non-daily newspapers.

McNeely succeeds Rick Thomason, publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and Johnson City Press, and president of Six Rivers Media, LLC.

Other executives elected at TPA’s business session at the concurrent June 23 board meeting and business session are Daniel Williams, chief executive of The Paris Post-Intelligencer, elected first vice- President ; Darrell Richardson, advertising director of the Daily Times, Alcoa, elected second vice-president, Chris Sherrill Vass, public editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, re-elected secretary; and Eric Barnes, publisher of the Daily News, Memphis, reelected treasurer.

The two-year elected trustees representing District 2 are: David Plazas, opinion and engagement editor of The Tennessean, Nashville; Dave Gould, owner of Main Street Media of Tennessee, Gallatin; and Keith Ponder, publisher of The Tullahoma News.

Rick Thomason will remain on the board for one year as Past President. Also on the board as trustees are Calvin Anderson, publisher of The New Tri-State Defender, Memphis; E. Scott Critchlow, co-editor of the Union City Daily Messenger; Sandy Dodson, publisher of The Bledsonian-Banner, Pikeville; Dale Gentry, publisher of The Standard Banner, Jefferson City; Paul Mauney, publisher of The Greeneville Sun; and Victor Parkins, editor of The Mirror-Exchange, Milan.

About Jack McNeely:

Jack McNeely joined the Tennessee Press Association Board of Directors in 2016 as a director.

McNeely, 55, is from West Virginia. He began his newspaper career in 1986 as a sports editor and photographer for his hometown weekly, the Coal Valley News, in Madison, West Virginia. In 1990, he accepted the position of sportswriter at a sister daily newspaper, the Logan Banner, in Logan, West Virginia. During the 1990s at the banner, he rose through the ranks from sportswriter to editor and eventually to general manager.

A U.S. Army veteran, McNeely served 14 years in the West Virginia National Guard (1985-1999). He graduated second in his Multi-Service Print Journalism (71Q) course at the School of Defense Information in 1986. While in Logan, his public affairs detachment was called out for a peacekeeping tour in active duty for 11 months during Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1998). As a staff sergeant, he served as team leader of a mobile public affairs detachment and won several US Army and NATO awards for his service.

Upon returning to Logan, he was informed that the new Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. had purchased the banner and other titles from Smith Newspapers. Shortly thereafter, CNHI offered McNeely his first publishing role, overseeing the Morehead (Kentucky) News Group, which included the biweekly Morehead News and the weekly Grayson Journal Enquirer, Olive Hill Times, and Greenup County News.

While at CNHI, he was also editor of the Americas (Georgia) Times-Recorder (2003-04) and the Commonwealth Journal in Somerset, Kentucky (2004-12).

In 2012 McNeely joined Walls Newspapers as publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama (2012-16). He was also publisher of the Herald-Citizen in Cookeville, Tennessee (2016-21), before being named group editor of the Cleveland (Tennessee) Daily Banner, the Herald-Citizen, the Daily Tribune News in Cartersville, Georgia, and of the weekly Times of Chatsworth (Georgia). The Daily Mountain Eagle was recently added to its watch.

Although McNeely credits much of his success to his military training, he also holds a communications degree from Bluefield State College.

His community service includes being a member of the Rotary Club since 1995, Paul Harris Fellow and past president of the Somerset Rotary Club. He also served as vice-president of the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.

He is a past president of the Alabama Press Foundation.

McNeely resides in Cleveland with his wife of 34 years, Nora. They have two adult daughters.

About the Tennessee Press Association:

The TPA was founded in 1870-1871 with the goal of creating a unified voice for the Tennessee newspaper industry. Today, TPA continues to provide assistance to its 133 member newspapers by monitoring legislative activities, offering training programs, issuing press credentials, and organizing regular meetings and forums to foster the exchange of information and ideas.

The TPA presidency rotates among the three Tennessee TPA divisions – East (District 3), Middle (District 2), and West (District 1).

Andrew B. Reiter