The Jacksonville Daily Record begins the new year with a new publisher, former business manager Angie Campbell.
The fifth publisher in the 110-year history of the newspaper, Campbell, 45, succeeds founder John McManus, James F. Bailey Sr., James F. Bailey Jr. and Matt Walsh, CEO of Observer Media Group.
“When we acquired the Daily Record in 2017 from the founding Bailey family, I had several goals and intentions — to keep this historic institution going and growing and become personally involved in Jacksonville’s business and civic life,” Walsh said.
“I think we’re still on track with the first two, but for family health reasons and the pandemic the past two years, I haven’t been able to fulfill the latter. We’ve now solved that with the promotion of our longtime business manager.”
He said Campbell’s roots in Jacksonville run deep. “Having been at the Daily Record for 25 years, Angie is the best and right person to hold the publisher position.”
Editor Karen Mathis will continue to guide the newspaper’s editorial content, in print and at jaxdailyrecord.com.
Jacksonville is twice Campbell’s adopted home, the last time by her own choice.
Her family moved to the city from Illinois when she was 4 years old. They lived in Arlington, where Campbell attended Terry Parker High School.
“When I graduated, I thought I knew it all, so I moved with some friends to the Midwest,” Campbell said.
After a few years, she returned to Jacksonville in 1997.
“You don’t realize how much you love Jacksonville until you are someplace else,” Campbell said.
At 20 and needing a job, Campbell learned that Bailey Publishing & Communications sought a receptionist and she applied. She interviewed with Jim Bailey Jr., who challenged her limited work experience.
“He said he had other candidates that were way more qualified. He wanted to know why he should take a chance on me,” she said.
“All I had at that point was my commitment to work as hard as I could and learn as much as I could about his business and never give him a reason to regret that decision.”
She got the job.
The first year was rough, Campbell said, because she learned by making mistakes while gaining office work experience on the job.
“I had never used a fax machine.”
After about two years as the company’s receptionist, Campbell moved to legal advertising. The legal department director’s desk was next to Campbell’s, so she became familiar with how that aspect of the business operates.
“It felt like the next step in my learning. I kept my ears open and when I didn’t have anything to do, I wanted to learn what they were doing and help,” Campbell said.
She also worked in circulation and classified advertising, then became Bailey’s executive assistant. Campbell soon told him she wanted to learn how the whole business operates.
About two weeks after that discussion, the business manager position became available and Campbell was ready to be promoted.
In late 2004, in her new role she began learning how each department affects the others, human resources, financial management, planning and acquisitions.
“In 25 years, I didn’t get bored. All of my knowledge and experience is invested in us and what we do,” Campbell said.
When Walsh bought the Daily Record in 2017, the uncertainty associated with suddenly having a new owner soon turned into appreciation for how being part of a family-owned statewide network of award-winning newspapers brings more depth and strength to the newspaper, Campbell said.
“Jim could not have found a better fit than Observer Media Group because of Matt and how his values and beliefs align. Matt makes our goals and responsibilities clear and it’s up to us to hit them.”
Campbell and her husband, Christopher, a corrections officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, have been married for 20 years and live Downtown in the Cathedral District. They have a grown son, a 19-year-old daughter and one grandchild.
When Campbell’s nephew, Mark Degner, disappeared one day in 2005 one day after leaving his middle school in West Jacksonville, she became an outspoken local advocate for missing children. Campbell is a member of the national BairFind Foundation’s board of directors, as well as a JAX Chamber trustee.
She said she is ready to continue that work and also become better acquainted with the Northeast Florida business community and its leaders.
Campbell said the Daily Record will maintain its 110-year-old traditions while creating new ways to be an asset to its customers by sharing the information readers need to know.
“In the same way that I began my career with the Daily Record, I offer my commitment to Northeast Florida’s business community. We will continue to provide the most accurate and reliable news and information and help our advertising partners grow their businesses,” Campbell said.