A local publishing company is hoping to tell the story of Jackson and Madison County week by week with the arrival of The Jackson Post. Magic Valley Publishing Co., which currently publishes 14 community newspapers in the region started the newspaper this month under the editorial leadership of Brandon Shields, a veteran journalist with 14 years’ of experience in Jackson and rural West Tennessee.
“I’ve been out of journalism for a few months and missed it,” Shields said. “And I’m appreciative of the Richardsons and Magic Valley Publishing for just wanting to do local journalism in Jackson, first of all, and then to hire me to start the work and put together the team.”
The publishing company that has become Magic Valley Publishing was started by Dennis and Lisa Richardson in 1983 with the purchase of one newspaper in Huntingdon and now includes 15 community newspapers focused on local journalism. Dennis passed away in July 2021. Lisa still owns the family business and many management responsibilities are handled by her three sons, Mark, Matthew, and Daniel. The Jackson Post is the first newspaper the company has started.
“We’re so excited about what lies ahead for us and the Jackson/Madison County Community,” said Magic Valley Publishing CEO Daniel Richardson. “We’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time.”
Shields moved to Jackson in 2008 when he was hired as sports editor of The Jackson Sun, a position he would hold for nearly a decade before moving to the position of co-editor in August of 2017 and eventually becoming the editor in January of 2019. He took a job with Bramblett Group, a marketing agency based in Henderson, in June before his return to journalism this week.
“I’m very grateful for my time at The Jackson Sun, but stepping away for a few months, I was able to see from the outside that local journalism isn’t happening enough in the market,” Shields said. “Whether it’s telling the stories of victories for people or businesses in the area, holding leaders accountable on a regular basis, exposing things in the community that need to be corrected or simply making sure people know about the big football game this week in town or a concert going on at the civic center or somewhere else … local journalism is suffering.
“It’s the aim of The Jackson Post to make sure anyone who reads our paper and our website has the ability to be adequately informed of what’s going on in Jackson and Madison County.”
The Post will start as a weekly print paper along with the website, jacksonpost.