Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.
“Valdosta is a great city and I am excited to come to Lowndes County, make it my home, work with the strong staff at the Times and help celebrate this wonderful community,” Zachary said. “A community is made up of schools, churches, businesses, civic clubs, the arts, athletic teams, recreation, youth organizations, senior centers, special needs agencies and more. A newspaper that is doing its job will showcase all these things and more.”
Publisher Jeff Masters said, “I am excited to have an editor the caliber of Jim join our staff to continue our mission of continued excellence in the community. Jim will be a great asset in service to our audience by assuring we are a reflection of our community. Jim, along with Assistant Editor Dean Poling, will provide strong leadership as we move forward in our mission to continue as the number one source of news both in print and on-line in South Georgia.”
Assistant Managing Editor Dean Poling said, “In the interim of the past few months, the news staff — reporters, photographer, sports guys, page designers — have continued honing their skills and developing their talents. We are happy to have Jim here to strengthen this process in the weeks and months to come.”
Known for watchdog journalism, open government advocacy and defending the First Amendment, VDT’s new editor is a 2014 Georgia Press Association Freedom of Information award-winner and also holds the 2014 David Hudson Open Government Award.
His editorials and columns have been featured in newspapers throughout the United States in the National Newspaper Association’s Newspaper Week, Public Notice Week and in the national Sunshine Week campaign.
The creator and director of the Transparency Project of Georgia, Zachary recently joined forces with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, advocating for greater government transparency across the state while providing educational materials and seminars for citizens, journalists, action committees and elected officials.
“Our core belief is that government belongs to the governed and not to the governing and we believe all the people’s business should be conducted out in the open and not concealed behind closed doors or hidden in secret documents,” Zachary said. “In addition to our role as the Fourth Estate, a community newspaper must celebrate its community in very vibrant and positive ways, showcasing the quality of life while making sure readers have all the information they want and need to know.”
He added, “I look forward to being out in the community, visiting and speaking to civic organizations, making connections with city and county leaders and — most importantly — just getting to know the wonderful men, women and young people that call Valdosta and Lowndes County home.”
In addition to the 2014 Freedom of Information Award and David Hudson Open Government Award, the newspapers Zachary has edited have consistently been among the most recognized newspapers in the respective press associations in Georgia and Tennessee.
Past recognitions include awards for open government advocacy, editorial writing and public service.
Zachary is a featured speaker and newsroom trainer and has worked to develop young journalists through the Georgia College Press Association.
He comes to The Valdosta Daily Times from the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald in metro Atlanta where he was also the news anchor for SCB-TV newscast, Henry Herald Today.
He can reached at 229-244-3400, ext.1280.