Alumnus protects freedom of the press
Don Bailey likes a challenge.
Making negotiations, thinking creatively and speaking publicly have honed his leadership skills in the media business.
“Every day the newspaper business is filled with various challenges,” said Bailey, ’89. “Many times during the past few years it would have been easy to walk away, but you can’t do that in a business where you’re committed as the watchdog of the community.”
The Thomaston, Ga., native and Georgia College alumnus has dedicated nearly 30 years to the freedom of the press.
International media mogul Gannett Co. Inc. recently named Bailey president and publisher of The Times in Shreveport, La. Bailey spent the majority of his career working for Morris Communications Corp.’s The Augusta Chronicle and its 13 independent businesses in Georgia and South Carolina.
Bailey has taken on various newspaper roles such as sales and marketing manager, display advertising director and general manager.
“I graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree and wanted to continue my education to round out my business knowledge,” he said. “For someone already in the workforce and starting a family, I needed a college that would allow flexibility. Even though several colleges in Middle Georgia offered similar programs, Georgia College made me feel at home.”
The Masters in Business Administration graduate thrived on the challenges his Georgia College professors provided throughout the coursework.
“In one management class our instructor was a retired Grumman executive,” Bailey said. “He established a simulated business unit that challenged us to make decisions — direct results on profits, workforce and contracts. To this day I still pause and think about how the decisions I make will impact the entire company. His leadership helped shape my decisions for the future.”
Bailey took his classroom experiences and successfully applied them to his profession.
Today, he ensures that the First Amendment is upheld for the Shreveport community and beyond while spearheading the strategic operations for the newspaper.
Bailey also served as vice president and president-elect of the Georgia Press Association. He stood at a crossroads in his career when Gannett came calling.
“I was trying to decide whether I wanted to stay in the media business or move into another field all together,” said Bailey. “When Gannett contacted me about this opportunity, I felt the strong pull of my training and headed to Louisiana.”
Bailey encourages Georgia College students interested in media to explore the field — from newspapers and radio to TV and digital platforms.
“Go for it,” he said. “No longer are newspapers just words on print. They are digital, mobile, tablets, e-editions and more.”
The passion Bailey has for media and his Georgia College experience have become a family tradition. Bailey’s daughter, Madison, is a sophomore public relations and advertising major at the university.
“Georgia College,” he said, “is about great connections, strong majors and exceptional professors who care about students’ success.”