Patrick Graham has been named the publisher of the Galveston County Daily News effective Aug. 29. J.D. Davidson, the publisher of the Fort Payne Times-Journal in Alabama, a sister paper to both Paris and Galveston, will succeed Graham at The Paris News in August.
The change in publisher was announced today by Lissa Walls Vahldiek, the chief operating officer for Southern Newspapers Inc., which owns the papers in Paris, Galveston and Fort Payne, as well as, 12 other papers in Texas, Alabama and Georgia.
"Patrick has been an energetic and positive leader during his tenure as publisher of the newspaper," Vahldiek said. "He leaves a solid foundation of quality and integrity not only in the newspaper but also in the community."
Graham has served as publisher in Paris for the last two years, and during that time he and the News staff have won numerous awards for their quality work from several different press associations. Graham has been actively involved in the community since his arrival as well, serving in a number of civic, business and charitable organizations locally.
Graham is a member of the Paris Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow; has served in a variety of capacities with the United Way of Lamar County; is on the board of directors for the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, the Boys & Girls Club of the Red River Valley, the Children's Advocacy Center of Paris, the Paris Education Foundation, and the St. Joseph's Foundation; is a member of the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial Committee and the Paris Regional Medical Center Advisory Council; and is a graduate of the Leadership Lamar County and Leadership Paris Independent School District programs.
"Paris is a tremendous place to live and work, and my family and I have made so many good friends here we are going to miss tremendously," Graham said. "But at the same time, I couldn't be more excited about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the Galveston newspaper represents, and I am really looking forward to this next step in my professional journey and all the possibilities and challenges that come with it."
Graham will succeed Dolph Tillotson, who is retiring after 24 years as publisher of the Galveston paper to assume additional corporate duties with Southern Newspapers.
Davidson's 25-year newspaper career has spanned seven newspapers in Ohio, Georgia and Alabama. He began as a sports writer in his hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio, and has spent time as a sports editor, copy desk chief, managing editor and finally publisher in Fort Payne, Ala.
"My family and I could not be more excited about the opportunity to become part of such a strong and vibrant community," Davidson said. "Paris and Lamar County offer so much to so many people, and we are extremely anxious to call Paris home."
"Through the years, the Paris News has been strong community leader and active in the significant progress of the area," Davidson added. "With the newspaper's award-winning staff, there's no doubt that commitment and tradition will continue."
Davidson, 42, and his wife, Serita, have three children: Tyler, 19, will be a sophomore at the University of Alabama; Jack, 10, will enter the fifth grade; and Sara Beth, 7, will enter the third grade.
"I have every confidence in J.D.'s ability to be a leader in the newspaper and the community," Vahldiek said. "J.D., his wife, Serita, and their children will be enthusiastic and active members of the community."
Graham, who has known Davidson since Davidson followed him as managing editor at the Fort Payne paper more than 10 years ago, agrees.
"J.D. is a good newspaper operator who believes in a product that wins the hearts and minds of readers and advertisers alike," Graham said. "He's going to do a great job for the paper and for the community here in Paris."
While in Fort Payne, Davidson founded the Fort Payne Youth Sports Association, which established a youth football and cheerleading program, along with three traveling baseball teams in the city.
He has coached youth baseball, football, basketball and soccer for more than 20 years.
He also served on the Fort Payne Industrial Development Board, as well as on the boards of directors for the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, Partnership for a Drug Free DeKalb, the DeKalb County Tourism Association, Associated Press Managing Editors and Alabama Journalism Foundation. He is part of the lay committee at First United Methodist church and served as vice-president of the PTO. He is a member of the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.
Davidson attended Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where he played baseball.