Willis promoted to editor in Birmingham

Tue, December 02, 1997 by Mark Kroeger

CINCINNATI, Ohio - Jim Willis, managing editor of the Birmingham Post-Herald since 1984, has been named the newspaper’s editor and president."Jim Willis is a master of the skills all journalists should have,’’ said Alan M. Horton, Scripps senior vice president for newspapers. "He’s tough, smart, has good sources all over town, an instinct for the stories readers need and want, and a knack for asking the right questions. He also knows what he wants his newspaper to become. Readers in Birmingham are in for a treat."Willis, 51, succeeds James H. Denley who has accepted the position as editor for the Abilene Reporter-News. Both are Scripps newspapers."The best lesson I’ve learned from Jimmy is how to strive to give readers a better newspaper," Willis said. "With the help of Post-Herald readers, I intend to keep their newspaper headed in that direction."Willis began his newspaper career in 1965 as a part-time prep sports correspondent for the old Memphis Press-Scimitar while attending Memphis State University as a journalism major.He joined the Press-Scimitar staff in 1972 as a general assignment reporter after serving four years in the United States Air Force. At the Press-Scimitar, he covered education and then politics before becoming night city editor and then city editor.In 1983, Willis was appointed as an assistant managing editor at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis and a year later was named managing editor at the Birmingham Post-Herald."Jim Willis will be a great editor," Denley said. "He knows and cares about the community. He has superior journalistic skills he has honed over three decades."Willis is a past president of the Alabama Associated Press Association and serves on the organization’s board of directors. He also has been active in the Associated Press Managing Editors organization serving on committees studying newsroom diversity, photography and graphics, and membership.In 1991 he was the first recipient of the Ken Knight Award for his work in mentoring minority journalism students at the University of Alabama.Willis was a member of the 1987 class of Leadership Birmingham. He also is an officer in the Birmingham Corvette Club and a member of the National Council of Corvette Clubs.He and his wife, Sherrye, have two sons, Christopher, a lawyer, and Jonathan, a sophomore at Mountain Brook High School.They are members of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and Alabama Friends of Adoption.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 features and comics.