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Hollis R. Towns Named VP of Content, Editor in Chief of Alabama Media Group

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Hollis R. Towns (Provided)

By Howard Koplowitz | hkoplowitz@al.com

Hollis R. Towns has been named vice president of content and editor in chief of Alabama Media Group, the company announced Thursday.

A native of Fort Valley, Georgia, Towns comes to AMG from Gannett, where he oversaw 160 daily newspapers and news websites across the country as Gannett’s vice president for local news and regional editor.

Under his leadership, newsroom teams won multiple Emmy awards for investigative journalism, were Pulitzer Prize finalists for public service in 2010 and were honored with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Public Service Award in 2018.

Towns’ first day at AMG will be March 25.

He said AMG’s culture of nationally recognized excellence attracted him to the company.

“Seeing the great journalism and bold digital moves taking place at Alabama Media Group was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Towns said. “What’s not to love about working for a newsroom that has won multiple Pulitzer PrizesEmmys and other top journalism awards by focusing on issues that impact local communities and where local journalism has led to new policies and laws that have helped Alabamians.”

AMG President Natalie Pruitt informed AL.com staffers of Towns’ hiring Thursday morning.

“It’s a testament to our journalists and our work that we were able to attract someone with the talent and experience Hollis brings,” Pruitt said. “Beyond his experience leading newsrooms at a national scale, he is dedicated to becoming an active participant in our local communities. He is committed to listening to community members, civic activists, elected officials and all readers – including those voices less likely to be heard.”

Towns in 2023 created Gannett’s Center for Community Journalism — a division of 150 Gannett news sites across the country focused on community coverage and leadership training.

Towns is dedicated to engaging Alabama’s communities.

“I hope to be very active in the local community whether it’s a chamber event or at the local high school career day. I plan to be visible,” he said. “I intend to keep my finger on the pulse of local and state issues listening and responding.”

Towns’ decades of newsroom leadership experience also includes a stint as managing and executive editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Before joining Gannett in 2004, he worked for Advance Local as managing editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette.

He replaces Kelly Ann Scott, who left in October 2023 to become editor in chief of the Houston Chronicle.

Alabama Media Group, which publishes AL.com, has more than 100 Alabama-based journalists located throughout the state. Besides AL.com — the state’s largest digital news site — AMG also includes This is Alabama, People of Alabama, the Alabama Education Lab and the digital editions of the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mobile Press-Register.