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Remembering J.D. Swartz: A Pioneer in the Newspaper Industry
J.D. Swartz, a former co-owner of the Forsyth County News and Dawson County News, passed away on Thursday in his hometown of Johnson City, TN. He was 87. Swartz, along with his business partner Charles Morris Sr., purchased the Forsyth County newspaper and papers in Dawson County and Barrow County from the New York Times Company in 1994. Swartz continued his affiliation with the Forsyth and Dawson publications until they were sold to the current owner, Metro Market Media, in 2018.
Swartz’s impact on the newspaper industry was nationwide, and his career spanned several decades. After serving three years in the Merchant Marines, Swartz entered the newspaper business with an entry-level job as a classified ad salesman in Bristol, TN in 1958. He worked his way up the ranks and eventually became the president of Worrell Newspapers. When Worrell was sold to the New York Times Company in 1982, Swartz joined forces with Morris to form Swartz-Morris Media and purchase the north Georgia publications.
“J.D. was a dear friend, excellent business partner, and outstanding owner and operator of newspapers,” said Charles H. Morris Sr. Swartz’s impact on the career of Charles H. Morris Jr., owner of Metro Market Media, was also significant. Morris Jr. referred to Swartz as an “amazing mentor, teacher, and dear family friend.”
Former FCN publisher Dennis Stockton, who was hired by Swartz-Morris to oversee the papers purchased in 1994, worked closely with Swartz. “He was the most generous person I’ve ever known and made me part of his family. I will definitely miss him,” said Stockton. John Hall, another former FCN publisher, also spoke highly of Swartz, calling him “almost legendary in the newspaper business.”
In addition to newspaper ownership, Swartz also formed Swartz Media Consultants, which provided consulting services to media companies and was a newspaper broker. He was active in his community, serving on the board of directors for many community organizations, as well as the Bank of Tennessee. He was also involved with East Tennessee State University, serving on the Business Board of Advisors, the ETSU Foundation, and the President’s Trust. In 1995, ETSU honored him with the title of Honorary Alumni.
Swartz’s impact on the newspaper industry will not be forgotten. He was a pioneer who worked his way up from an entry-level job to become a respected leader in the industry. His generosity and mentorship will be remembered by those who knew him well. Rest in peace, J.D. Swartz.
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News Source : Dawson County News
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