Columbus publisher will also lead Telegraph as Bailey steps down

Rodney Mahone
Rodney Mahone

Don Bailey, president and publisher of The Telegraph since 2013, will be stepping down from that position effective May 5.

Rodney Mahone, president and publisher of the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus since 2010, will oversee the newspapers in Macon and Columbus as the Georgia regional publisher.

The announcement was made to Telegraph employees Monday afternoon.

Also, Travis Knight, currently advertising vice president, will become advertising vice president/general manager, reporting to Mahone.

Bailey, 55, told employees he appreciated “everything that everybody has done.”

He added, “You are very passionate about the work you do, and I appreciate the support over the last few years.”

Bailey, a Middle Georgia native, began his newspaper career in 1984 as an advertising intern at the former Macon Telegraph and News.

He began his job as publisher in Macon on April 8, 2013, after serving as president and publisher of The Times in Shreveport, La. He was president of The Augusta Chronicle from 2004 until 2011. He replaced George McCanless, who left the newspaper in January 2013 to became president/CEO of the United Way of Central Georgia.

Bailey said one of the initiatives he was most proud of was Education Together, which The Telegraph and its community partners set up to provide needs-based scholarships to high school seniors across Middle Georgia.

“Look at what we’ve accomplished with Education Together and helping Middle Georgia students go to college,” he said. “We cover our community fairly, and we take the good and the bad and report it through all our different platforms. ... I leave it with a heavy heart, but I also look forward to staying” in the community.

He and his family plan to remain in Macon. While Bailey plans to continue his service on several boards, he said he’s not yet ready to say what he’ll do next.

With the change, the editorial department in Macon will report directly to Mahone. He said he plans to spend a great deal of time in the Macon office in the coming weeks, getting to know the employees and learning more about the community.

Despite changes in the industry, especially as more newspaper operations become regional in nature, Mahone said “providing news and information is a commitment we take very seriously.”

“As you can imagine over all the years, I have developed a really deep appreciation for the critical role that journalism plays in our community and our need for accurate and fair and balanced reporting,” he said.

Today and going forward, the way people get their news is changing, he said, as the printed, or legacy, product wanes.

“We are reducing our legacy experience to pour more into our digital transformation,” he said. “That’s where our focus is. ... We want to be less reliant on our print revenue and more reliant on digital revenue.”

Mahone, 50, began his career with the Columbus paper right out of college in 1990 in the circulation department. He advanced from advertising sales to several leadership roles within the advertising division. He was appointed vice president of advertising in 2009 and named publisher the next year.

As an advertising executive, Mahone was an American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award winner in 2003 and served as president of the Ad Federation of Columbus.

A lifelong resident of Columbus, Mahone was a founding member and vice president of Men of Action Inc, which served children at risk and developed service projects to help young men, including reading programs and scholarships. He was involved with the development of the newly opened Emanuel Preparatory School of Math and Science and now serves on its board of directors.

Mahone is a 2012 alumnus of Leadership Georgia, has served on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation and as board chairman for United Way and New Birth Outreach Church.

He is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern College in Americus with a business degree in marketing.

Mahone, and his wife, Deirdre, have two children, Brandon and Brittany.

Knight joined The Telegraph in 2013 as digital director. He had held that position at The Tampa Tribune and at The Savannah Morning News. Since his time in Macon, he was promoted to vice president of advertising in 2016.

McClatchy, a publicly held company based in Sacramento, Calif., operates in 29 U.S. markets. It publishes newspapers and connects with readers in its communities through digital, mobile apps and other mediums.

Linda S. Morris: 478-744-4223, @MidGaBiz