ROCKINGHAM — Rick Thomason, a newspaperman with 36 years of experience as a reporter, editor, publisher and consultant, has been named publisher of the Richmond County Daily Journal.
Thomason is based in Lumberton, where he serves as regional publisher of The Robesonian The Laurinburg Exchange, Bladen Journal and Anson Record in addition to the Daily Journal.
The announcement was made Monday by Ralph Martin, CEO of Civitas Media, the newspaper’s parent company.
“It is a privilege to be chosen for this position,” Thomason said. “With more than 35 years in this business, I have seen it evolve and change drastically. But what has never — and should never — change is the role of the newspaper in the communities it serves. We should not only be watchdogs for taxpayer dollars, but also a reflection of the communities we serve.
“Our newspapers do a good job, but we can always do better … and we will. We will add and explore new ways to serve our advertisers so they reach the widest audience possible. And we will engage with our readers so there is a meaningful exchange of ideas so they, and we, are better informed.”
Thomason, 58, began his career as a reporter with the Dothan (Alabama) Progress, and has served as editor of the Free Press in Kinston, editor of The Walton Sun in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, publisher of The Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Mississippi, publisher of The Destin (Florida) Log and The Walton Sun, editor of The Register-Citizen in Torrington, Connecticut, as a newspaper industry speaker and consultant, and most recently as publisher of the Daily News is LaGrange, Georgia.
Each newspaper received multiple journalism awards and was recognized for its community involvement and leadership under Thomason’s direction.
“I am not unfamiliar with this part of the country,” Thomason said. “I have fond memories of my time in Kinston and this part of the state, especially discovering eastern North Carolina barbecue. By the way, where’s the best barbecue in the area?”(Thomason invites responses to that question via the email at the end of this story.)
Thomason is a past member of both Rotary and Exchange clubs, has served on chamber of commerce boards of directors in Greenville for two years and Destin for eight years, served on the Friends of the Coastal Branch Library board in Santa Rosa Beach, and has volunteered with the hospital guild at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast in Santa Rosa Beach.
“I look forward to getting involved in the communities we serve,” Thomason said. “If we are going to be a reflection of our communities, we must be a bigger part of them than just delivering a daily or weekly printed newspaper. I can’t wait to get to know these communities, the people, and what makes them tick, then get involved in places where I feel — or others feel — I can contribute.”
He attended Auburn University, where he majored in mass communications, and Northwestern University, where he was a member of the Advanced Executive Program, Class Five, at the Media Management Center.
He has moved to Lumberton with his wife, Elaine, and their dog, Harley. In his spare time, he is an avid photographer, reader and college football and basketball fan.
To reach Rick Thomason, email firstname.lastname@example.org.