|John M. Jones III|
Despite having no newspaper experience, Jones thrived as "a major force in local economic development and civic life from the late 1940s to the late 1990s," the Sun reports. "A former president of the Tennessee Press Association, Jones was also a former board member of what was then the American Newspaper Publishers Association (now the Newspaper Association of America). He served multiple terms as a member of the board of directors of The Associated Press. Jones was also an original member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and is widely regarded as the unofficial 'father' of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."
"During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Jones played the primary leadership role in expanding the family's newspaper interests to include community newspapers in several other East Tennessee towns, including Newport, Athens, Dayton, Rogersville, Loudon/Lenoir City, and Sweetwater/Monroe County," where Jones was born and raised, the Sun reports. "The company has in recent years become Jones Media Inc., consisting of community daily newspapers in Greeneville, Maryville and Athens and non-daily newspapers in Newport, Rogersville, Lenoir City, Sweetwater, Dayton, and the High Country of western North Carolina, including Boone, as well as other media-related enterprises."