Our new editor, Robby Byrd, comes to us from Amory, Miss. in the northeastern third of the state, which is also where he grew up.
Byrd previously worked as general manager of "The Amory Advertiser" and "Aberdeen Examiner."
As leader of two mid-sized, weekly papers, Byrd facilitated all the daily happenings in the editorial, advertising, circulation and business departments.
During his tenure, he implemented several special sections and improved weekly features, ensured a budget surplus and grew circulation more than 300 copies.
"I will definitely miss knowing everyone in town," Byrd said of Amory.
Byrd is a 2002 graduate of Mississippi State University and earned a bachelor's of art in communications with a concentration in public relations.
After college, he went to work as a sports editor and news reporter at "The North Jefferson News" in Gardendale, Ala.
In 2005 he briefly worked as assistant sports editor at "The Meridian Star" in Meridian, Miss before accepting the general manager position in Amory.
He has earned several professional awards including the first place 2006 Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest for General Excellence in mid-sized weekly newspapers as well as best design, front page, in depth/investigative story and personality portrait. In 2005, he received another first place MPA Better Newspaper award for best special section.
Byrd has also received several second and third place MPA and Alabama Press Association awards, and was a 2004 Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. finalist for Weekly Photographer of the Year.
He said his favorite day on the job was touring the state in a recreational vehicle with the governor of Mississippi during a re-election campaign a year after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged the state's coast.
"It was just me and him and I got to ask him anything I wanted," Byrd said.
Byrd said several things attracted him to "The Covington News" - mainly the coverage area of the paper. The historic downtown Covington Square felt familiar to him, being from a small Mississippi town, yet was intriguingly foreign.
"Covington is close enough to Atlanta to do what I want," Byrd said, "but far enough away to not deal with the big city everyday."
Byrd is an avid reader of "Southern Living," "Men's Health" and CNN.com as well as novels. He recently finished the book "Saturday" by Ian McEwan.
He also enjoys cooking.
"I just invent my own thing," Byrd said. "I look for ingredients and then mix them together and just see what comes up."
Byrd said he is looking forward to becoming acquainted with the history as well as the residents of Newton County.
"When you're working somewhere new, you know no one," Byrd said. "Then all of a sudden, you know everyone - a year later, you can walk down the street and know almost everyone's name. It's neat how that happens."