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Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Alton Brown talks with members of the Times Free Press staff on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Alton Brown, the former regional publisher for Lee Enterprises in North Carolina, has been named president of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Brown, 59, has worked in the newspaper business for more than three decades in management roles in Georgia, Ohio, Arizona and North Carolina. Brown said he was attracted to Times Free Press by the values of the newspaper and the appeal of Chattanooga.

"Chattanooga is a beautiful city and my wife and I are really excited about becoming engaged members of the community," Brown told employees of the Times Free Press Wednesday after assuming his new role. "But the big attraction for me was the core values of this newspaper and the commitment and dedication to quality journalism. To give the news fair and impartially is very important to me, and I look forward to working with everyone here to continue that tradition. Every community needs to have media that are focused on the concerns of the community above all else."

The announcement of Brown's appointment was made Wednesday by Nat W. Lea IV, president and chief executive officer of WEHCO Media Inc., which owns the Times Free Press. Brown will head operations of the Chattanooga Publishing Co., as well as its online, newspaper and magazine operations in Chattanooga.

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Brown named president of Times Free Press

Mark Lane, president of WEHCO Media's newspaper division who temporarily headed the Times Free Press following the resignation of former newspaper President Jeff DeLoach in March, said he looks forward to working with Brown.

"Alton is a newspaper and media veteran who has a track record of proven success," Lane said. "He cares deeply about local journalism and building relationships with the community, advertisers and team members."

Lea said Brown brings an extensive background in the newspaper industry "and he is very passionate about this business."

Brown began working in a newspaper mailroom at age 14 in Milledgeville, Georgia, and he has worked in newspapers throughout his career since graduating from Princeton University in 1985.

Brown was publisher of The Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina for the past five years and previously served as both an advertising vice president and later general manager of the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio after working as sales vice president for The Tribune in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Brown and his wife are the parents of two grown children and just purchased their new home in Ooltewah.

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