Political Notes — The Morris family is easing out of the newspaper business

[private]One of the Georgia’s most politically influential media figures, Billy Morris of Augusta, is easing out of the business that his family has run for so long.

Morris Communications Co. announced Wednesday that it was selling off its newspapers — which include the Augusta Chronicle, the Athens Banner-Herald, and the Savannah Morning News — to the GateHouse Media newspaper chain.

In its official announcement, Morris Communications said it was dumping the newspapers as part of an effort to “focus its business on lifestyle publications, property development and new business.”

William S. “Billy” Morris III, the chairman of Morris Communications, called the newspaper sale a “difficult decision.”

“Since my father took a job as bookkeeper at The Chronicle in 1929, our family has been dedicated to journalism, and to the readers and advertisers in the communities we serve,” Morris said.

“Every newspaper company in America is battling trends and redirected advertising dollars, so it is necessary for newspapers to be part of a large newspaper group to build and maintain the necessary resources to compete,” Morris added.

Under the terms of the sale, Scot Morrissey will remain as publisher of the Athens Banner-Herald. Billy Morris will continue as publisher of the Augusta Chronicle and will oversee editorial-page policy for the three Morris newspapers in Georgia.

Collins takes the flak at town hall.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) put himself out front at a town hall in Gainesville this week, and the results were similar to other congressional town halls: a lot of people are angry at attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act.

From Nick Bowman’s report in the Gainesville Times:

Democrats and progressives, many of them present at a May protest outside Collins’ Gainesville headquarters, shouted Collins down early in the town hall, calling for single-payer health care, federal investigations into pharmaceutical companies and for further probes of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

Their demonstrations prompted more shouting from Republicans and conservatives in the audience, who called for quiet to let Collins take questions.

The climax of the protests came close to the end of the town hall, which lasted about 80 minutes. Protester Marisa Pyle, who at various points argued health care points with Collins, stood and unfurled a sign proclaiming “Collins voted to kill me.” The sign was seized by local law enforcement and Pyle was escorted out of the courtroom.

At this point, the rest of the protest group walked out of the town hall in solidarity with Pyle, who was present at the May protest in Gainesville. She has met with Collins and his staff to talk about health care in the past.

To those remaining in the room, Collins left on a positive note.

“I’m just glad that they were here, and I’m glad that you were here,” he said.

Stone endorsement

State Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming) plans to roll out an endorsement Friday from Donald Trump supporter and legendary political trickster Roger Stone.

The Williams’ campaign sent out an email saying that Stone will formally endorse Williams at “a campaign event in metro Atlanta.”

“For forty years, Roger Stone has successfully fought the establishment,” Williams said. “His endorsement is a vote of confidence in our movement to rid Georgia’s government of the establishment. Roger is in the trenches cleaning up the governments bureaucratic mess by fighting for America First candidates. I’m honored to have his support!”

Tippins mulls it over

Business consultant and former Navy SEAL Clay Tippins, the nephew of state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), is reportedly mulling a Republican candidacy for governor.

It’s unlikely that Tippins would jump into the race, but if he does he has steep hills to climb in a Republican primary that is already crowded with better-known candidates raising significant sums of money.

New judgeship for Cobb?

The Judicial Council of Georgia met this week and voted to recommend that an additional judgeship be created for the Cobb Judicial Circuit. The recommendation will be considered by the General Assembly in the upcoming session.

A Golden opportunity

Former state senator Tim Golden of Valdosta will help teach a new history course at Valdosta State University called “Political History of Modern Georgia.”  Golden will co-teach the class with Dixie Haggard, a VSU history professor.

He will be able to draw on quite a bit of personal experience in teaching that course: Golden served for eight years in the Georgia House and 16 years in the state Senate before retiring in 2014.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report



Tags: Clay Tippins , Cobb County judgeship , Doug Collins town hall , Michael Williams , Morris Communications , Roger Stone , Tim Golden