FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Steven Stiefel has been named the publisher of The Times-Journal, Owner Patrick Graham announced Thursday.
“Steven’s credentials as a community journalist locally are second to none,” Graham said. “Equally impressive is Steven’s background in newspaper management, global and national marketing and business ownership, all of which he will bring to bear in his new role as the publisher of his hometown newspaper. These important attributes combined with Steven’s love for our community and his extensive local institutional knowledge make him the ideal choice to lead The Times-Journal.”
Stiefel has worked for The Times-Journal for a total of 13 years and brings a familiarity with the area, where he was born and raised. He most recently returned to the newsroom at the paper in November of last year.
“I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to following in the footsteps of the publishers who served before me,” Stiefel said. “I learned so much from Patrick Graham and appreciate his faith in me to lead the newspaper to continued success and prosperity. Patrick cares deeply about our publication and DeKalb County. He’s demonstrated this through his commitment to preserving independent community journalism.”
Stiefel said he’s also particularly proud of the work The Times-Journal has done throughout 2020, providing accurate and reliable information to the community during a deadly pandemic.
“It just reinforces the importance of what we do here and the valuable public service we provide to the community. We want to tell the stories that convey the significance of this historic time,” he said.
Stiefel, 52, succeeds Tricia Clinton-Dunne, who was publisher for just over five years and resigned Oct. 13 to accept a position as city treasurer at Fort Payne City Hall.
Stiefel said he intends to support many of the same causes that were important to his predecessors: “Improving the quality of life in DeKalb County, encouraging readers to support our local businesses and strengthening the bonds that unite us while making The Times-Journal an indispensable resource for learning what’s happening in the community. I have a strong passion for bringing timely and accurate news to our readers and look forward to hearing their feedback.”
The 1986 graduate of Fort Payne High School attended Auburn University where he majored in communications with a minor in English and journalism. After graduating, he landed his first job at The Times-Journal under then-Publisher Gary Gengozian and Managing Editor Dennis Benefield. He departed the company in 1993 to start a freelance photography business, but Stiefel returned in 1997 to work for then-Publisher Ben Shurett and Graham, who was then-managing editor. In 2002, he accepted a promotion to editor at the Times-Journal's sister paper, The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville.
Stiefel spent the following decade working as editor-in-chief for an Australian-based online magazine, Savvy.com, and a Los Angeles-based national television network, MavTV. In 2013, Stiefel earned his Master’s degree in strategic communications from Troy University, where he then served as an adjunct instructor for Troy University. He spent the next six years working for a Chattanooga-based marketing firm, Riverworks, where he honed his skills helping brands to refine their digital marketing and advertising campaigns.
“This is an opportunity that is a long time coming for Steven,” Graham said. “I have every confidence he will do an outstanding job for our readers, our advertisers and our community.”
Graham also owns the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro, Alabama; The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville, Alabama; The Walton Tribune in Monroe, Georgia, and The Covington News.