Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tri-State Defender Names New Publisher

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Tri-State Defender, the oldest black newspaper in Memphis, has a new interim publisher – Melvin Jones. He replaces Marzie Thomas.

The announcement was made by Real Times Inc., the parent company of the weekly Tri-State Defender and other publications.

“In order to build on the current brand of the Tri-State Defender, increase readership and community investment we needed new leadership,” said Real Times CEO Hiram Jackson. “With Melvin’s business acumen and sense of community, I feel that he is the right person to help chart a new course for the Tri-State Defender.”

Jones is the founder of The Black Business Directory and Proud Magazine. He has lived in Memphis for more than 20 years, according to the announcement.

There was no immediate word whether the “new course” will include a formal explanation of a plagiarism scandal at the Tri-State Defender that was exposed in 2003. A “freelance writer” named Larry Reeves supposedly wrote 140 articles for the newspaper, most of which turned out to be crude revisions of stories that had previously appeared in other newspapers. The true identity of “Larry Reeves” was never revealed, and Thomas and Real Times chairman Tom Picou insisted they were the victims of a scam.

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