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- 2012 - November - 14th -

Making headlines for a century

Dear Jacksonville,

As you can see from the banner headline in today’s paper, this week the Daily Record is celebrating its 100th Anniversary

We’re very proud of that milestone.

We’re especially proud that during the entire 100 years the Daily Record has had just three generations of owners or operators — my grandfather, my father and me.

And, as a tribute to our employees, during the past century, we’ve published our newspaper more than 26,000 times without interruption, all on the same Downtown block.

From the beginning, we’ve always looked at the Daily Record as a part of the community.

Building and maintaining relationships began with my grandfather, who started the Daily Record in 1912. That philosophy continues to be the foundation of our business today.

At the top of the list of qualities that are important to us is giving great personal service to our customers and in the community.

Maybe we’re old fashioned.

When you call the Daily Record during business hours, you won’t be greeted by an answering service and directed through a series of prompts before you talk to a real person. Instead, you start out with someone who will be friendly and helpful.

Our people are trained to understand that “I don’t know” is not an answer. If you have a question, we’ll find you an answer. If you need help, we’ll find a way to make something happen.

Through the years, we’ve always tried to avoid self-promotion.

Instead, we’ve chosen to invest money and human capital in nonprofit groups and public service. We’re always looking for ways to make positive things happen in Jacksonville.

Our goal is to find ways to make a difference and to use our newspaper and our opportunities to improve the community.

My grandfather, John Hall McManus, was an entrepreneur who also owned a newspaper in Tampa.

I’m told my grandfather was somewhat of a local character who wore a white suit, rode a motorcycle and played poker in a Downtown alley with the sheriff.

My father, James F. Bailey, married John and Thelma McManus’ daughter. He assumed ownership of the newspaper after my grandfather passed away, and dad ran it before suffering a heart attack in 1974.

At the time, I was in college when my dad fell ill, I came back home to “temporarily” work in the family business.

Of course, as a kid, I’d been around the paper nearly every day. My first job was melting the metal for the hot type process. But, as a college student, I knew nothing about running the business, and I actually thought it would only be a short time until I returned to school.

Now, 38 years later, I’m still here and I’m very grateful for not only the legacy, but the great life lessons I’ve been exposed to.

It’s something special to remain in the same community where you grow up, especially when you love it so much, as I do Jacksonville.

It’s even more exciting when you have the opportunity to work closely with the city’s leadership and close to the community’s heartbeat where you can absolutely feel the pulse and see the results of nearly everything that happens.

It’s not easy being a great city. If it was easy, then every city would be great. It takes strong continuous leadership and a lot of hard work. Getting a break every once in a while also helps.

I firmly believe the most important ingredient to create success is leadership.

Good leaders set the tone and make things happen.

If a leader has a vision, is enthusiastic and has passion, people will follow and they will move mountains to succeed.

I’m often in awe of the people who provide the leadership in this town. For many decades we’ve had giants who’ve been in the forefront of moving Jacksonville forward, economically, culturally and spiritually.

And often the torch is passed seamlessly from one generation of leaders to the next.

When the new and revolutionary consolidated government formed in 1968, I was in high school. When the incredibly polluted St. Johns River was flushed and declared restored in 1977, I was transitioning from a college student to a newspaper publisher. And, when Jacksonville landed the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1993 I was a young man immersing myself in community affairs.

These three events are all seminal in our history and all three required enormous leadership.

It’s no different now. Today’s leaders face challenges and opportunities that must be met if we are to continue to be a city that is moving forward.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m an unashamed homer, a front-row cheerleader for Jacksonville. But for me, just standing and cheering is not enough.

I believe all of us need to come into the game because we can all contribute something to make Jacksonville even better.

To help celebrate the Daily Record’s anniversary, my wife Donna and I recently hosted a luncheon for the CEOs and executive directors of about 80 local nonprofits.

These are people who do something daily to improve the lives of others.

Our nonprofits fill so many critical gaps in the community and often provide the only services and safety nets we have for thousands of people who have special needs and often carry extraordinary burdens.

The people who work and volunteer for nonprofits help uplift our spirits with the arts, improve the educational experiences of our children, and give health care and comfort to our ill and dying.

I often reflect on what former Jacksonville University and NBA star Otis Smith once said to me: “It’s not about climbing the mountain of success, it’s about reaching back and helping others reach the top also.”

One of the aspects that I love most about Jacksonville is that we have many mountain climbers who are always reaching back to pull somebody along.

I truly hope the Daily Record is here for another century. Until then, let’s do our very best for the city we all love.

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