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Walton Tribune announces newsroom leadership change
Chris Bridges
Chris Bridges, right, addresses the staff of The Walton Tribune after being announced as the next managing editor of the newspaper Tuesday, March 15, in Monroe. Looking on at left is Patrick Graham, the paper’s proprietor, who selected Bridges for the role. (Special | The Walton Tribune)

MONROE, Ga. — The Walton Tribune will make changes in its newsroom leadership over the next few weeks.

David Clemons, editor and publisher of The Tribune since 2018, will leave the paper in early April to pursue new opportunities.

Patrick Graham, the paper’s proprietor, has announced former Covington News sports editor Chris Bridges will serve as the next managing editor of The Tribune. Bridges has served as sports editor since January and previously served as the editor of the Barrow Journal, and has previous stints as sports editor of The Tribune, The Covington News and other papers in north Georgia.

Graham and Bridges are seeking a new sports editor.

“I have loved my time in Walton County and association with The Tribune,” Clemons said. “But, it’s time for me to take on new challenges.”

Clemons came to Monroe in 2009 as publisher of The Tribune when it was owned by Southern Newspapers Inc. He served for two years before SNI moved him to a sister publication, then returned in 2015 as managing editor after Graham had purchased the paper.

Clemons became the publisher of The Covington News when Graham bought that paper in 2017 and returned to Monroe a year later.

“I’ve known David since he was a teenager and have watched him grow as a person and a journalist for more than 20 years now,” Graham said. “That growth has prepared him well for the next chapter in his career and I wish him nothing but the best as he charts that path moving forward.”

Under the leadership of Graham and Clemons, The Tribune is on a five-year streak of winning first-place honors in the prestigious General Excellence award in the Georgia Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

Bridges, a native of Monticello, returned to The Tribune earlier this year after longtime Sports Editor Brett Fowler accepted a position with the Walton County Chamber of Commerce.

“It has been great being back at The Tribune,” Bridges said. “I believe this is the top community newspaper in the state and look forward to continuing the high standard set by David during his tenures here.

“I had big shoes to fill for Brett Fowler with the paper’s sports section and those shoes are also huge in stepping in for David. I look forward to the challenge and working with our talented newsroom which includes Stephen Milligan and Denise Etheridge. I also am thankful for the opportunities presented by our owner, Patrick Graham.”

Graham said, “David has done an outstanding job for this newspaper and this community during his many years at The Walton Tribune. He is leaving some really big shoes to fill based on his consistent, award-winning performance, but we are confident Chris will be able to meet the standard David has helped set for the paper. Our readers and advertisers won’t and shouldn’t accept anything less.”

David Clemons
David Clemons - photo by Special Photo