The High Point Enterprise has a new publisher, and the person who had been publisher has taken on elevated responsibilities.
Rick Thomason became The Enterprise's publisher on Monday. He succeeds Nancy Baker, who has been promoted to vice president of finance for the Southeast region of Paxton Media Group, which owns The Enterprise. In this role she oversees the finances for 29 newspapers. Baker remains based at The Enterprise.
Baker has been with The Enterprise since 2004, when she joined the paper as business manager. In 2011 she was named regional controller for Paxton, and she added the duties of publisher in 2019 after the retirement of Rick Bean.
Paxton's growth in the Southeast, including the recent purchase of six newspapers in North Carolina from Gannett, had increased Baker's responsibilities.
"We have gone from a 12-paper region when I became High Point publisher and regional controller in 2019 to 29 daily and weekly publications in the Southeast region. I am looking forward to the challenge this will bring," she said. "With Rick's extensive newspaper background I know he will do a great job stepping into the publisher role. I hope everyone will give him a warm High Point welcome as he becomes a part of our community."
Thomason, 65, most recently was the publisher of the Kingsport Times-News in eastern Tennessee for six years.
Although he could have retired, "I'm just not ready. I like working," he said. "I like being around people."
And one of the joys of working in the news industry is "you get to be part of something new every day," he said.
This is Thomason's third time living in North Carolina, and he hopes this one will be less eventful than the first two — working at The Free Press in Kinston and The Robesonian in Lumberton. At each of those, he lived through flooding caused by hurricanes.
Though Thomason has worked for newspapers his entire career, starting as a reporter in his hometown Dothan, Alabama, he originally started college at Auburn University planning to go to pharmacy school. One of the required courses changed that.
"Calculus decided for me that I didn't want to do pharmacy," he said.
His career has taken him to Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and even Connecticut — where yet another hurricane, Sandy, hit his area shortly before he left.
High Point is a departure from most of the places he has lived.
"It's big compared to where I lived before," he said. "I like the energy here in this area. I think I'll also like the climate."
His wife, Elaine, will join Thomason in High Point in the spring.
Thomason said he looks forward to learning about the city and becoming involved in community organizations.