From paper boy to reporter to owner of more than 70 media companies, Charles Hill Morris Sr. has made improving community journalism his life's ambition.
He purchased The Covington News 25 years ago as he sought out quality publications across America's small towns.
The city he's invested in for a quarter century will honor him by declaring today "Charles H. Morris Sr. Day"
"He's a true Southern gentleman, gracious and family oriented. He is probably the most energetic man I ever met in my life," said Jackie Haynes, who was worked with Morris for 30 years. "He listens, he reads and he learns, and he passes that knowledge on...He has a genuine desire for people to succeed."
He grew up in the newspaper world, working in nearly every department in the business under the guidance of his father, William S. Morris. In 1970, he created Morris Multimedia.
In the four decades since, he's grown the company from two newspapers to more than 70 publications, TV stations and other media.
"He has had great vision on where the industry was going and tried to diversify his company by not just being in newspapers, but multimedia," said Joe McGlamery, regional vice president for southeast Georgia. "He is a highly motivated, driven person, who built a company that has come a long way from its beginnings."
Morris developed a passion for community involvement during his time as publisher of The Savannah News, when city leaders were debating whether to preserve Savannah's history or encourage progressive growth. He eventually purchased and restored one of the city's oldest buildings.
He purchased The Covington News on Oct. 20, 1986, during a span of aggressive acquisitions. Formed six months after the end of the Civil War in 1865, the paper was originally called The Georgia Enterprise, becoming The Covington News in 1908.
Morris remains active. He ran the Savannah Mile in 5 minutes and 52 seconds earlier this year at the age of 73, taking first place in his age group and easily outpacing most runners 30 years his junior.
"Whichever newspaper or venture he takes upon himself, his only goal is to better the product," Haynes said.