Denley named editor in Abilene

Tue, December 02, 1997 by Mark Kroeger

CINCINNATI, Ohio - James H. Denley, editor and president of the Birmingham Post-Herald since 1984, has been named editor of the Abilene Reporter-News. Both are Scripps newspapers.Under Denley’s leadership, the Post-Herald gained a reputation as a solid training ground for young journalists and for its superior writing and reporting, placing first or second in the Alabama Press Association’s annual general excellence competition seven times in a 10-year period. Denley replaces Glenn Dromgoole, editor of the Reporter-News for the past twelve years, who left the newspaper to travel, write, and spend more time with his family. "Jimmy Denley is a proven editor,’’ said Alan M. Horton, Scripps senior vice president for newspapers. "He’s exactly the kind of editor readers in Abilene will appreciate. With him, information rules. His view is that a journalist must start with the facts, tell the complete story and tell it as well as it can be told.""Denley practices what Scripps preaches: ‘Give light and the people will find their own way.’""Jimmy Denley is a veteran newsman who will bring a wealth of experience, enthusiasm and know-how to the Abilene Reporter-News," said Frank Puckett, the newspaper’s president and publisher. "I’m delighted he has decided to join our team."Horton also announced today that Jim Willis, managing editor at the Post-Herald since 1984, will succeed Denley as editor and president at Birmingham.Denley, 50, will begin his new responsibilities in Texas by the week of Dec. 29. The Reporter-News is one of six newspapers acquired Oct. 15 by Scripps from Harte-Hanks Communications Inc. "I look forward to joining one of Scripps’ newest newspapers,’’ Denley said. "Although new to our company, the Abilene Reporter-News has a long tradition of service to its community. My goal will be to help that fine staff continue to produce a lively, interesting news report with a strong local focus every day."Denley developed his love for newspapering in rural Mississippi, gaining an early education in journalism working on the small weekly owned by his father and his grandfather. His father, Gerald H. Denley, 85, remained active on the newspaper until earlier this year.Denley graduated in 1969 from the University of Mississippi where he majored in journalism, English and political science. While in college he worked two summers as an intern for United Press International. After graduating, he was hired as an intern at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis and has been with Scripps ever since.In Memphis, he covered city hall and politics before becoming an assistant metro editor, then night metro editor. He later was named assistant managing editor, a position he held until 1982.He accepted the position as managing editor for the Birmingham Post-Herald in 1982, becoming editor and president two years later.Denley has been active in the Alabama Press Association, leading a committee that oversaw the purchase of its headquarters building. He is first vice president of the association and was in line to become its president in 1998."Leaving Birmingham will be tough," he said. "Birmingham is a fine community that is taking the right steps to become even better. I’m pleased that the Post-Herald has been and will continue to be a part of that process.’’In Birmingham, Denley served on the executive committees of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Alabama. He headed a task force that founded the Literacy Council of Central Alabama and served on its board of directors. He is a member of the board of directors of the Birmingham chapter of the American Red Cross, Operation New Birmingham and the Festival of Arts.He is a member of South Highland Presbyterian Church.He and his wife, Barbara, have two adult children, Bryan and Tanya.The E.W. Scripps Company operates 20 daily newspapers; nine network-affiliated television stations; two TV networks, Home & Garden Television and the Food Network; two TV programmers, Cinetel Productions and Scripps Howard Productions; and United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licensor of news features and comics.