Rice: I’m thankful for the opportunity to return home

Published 7:58 pm Friday, January 8, 2021

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Back in 1997, I moved away from my hometown of Troy to start a newspaper and media career that took me from Alabama to Florida to Louisiana and even Washington, D.C. On December 30, 2020, with Team Rice in tow, I turned south on U.S. 231 and headed for Troy. I can’t tell you how good it felt to be coming home and bringing my wife, Molly, and our children Will (14) and Eleanor (11) with me. 

And now, as I wrap up my first week as publisher of my hometown newspaper, it’s time to reintroduce myself to you. As a bit of background, I started my career in this industry on the digital side, working as online manager when montgomeryadvertiser.com launched in 1997.  From there came overall advertising management that included print, digital, promotions, events and specialty publications and corporate work with Gannett Newspapers. As this industry has evolved so have I, so has The Messenger, and so has my hometown.

As you know, over the past several years media fragmentation has increased the choices we have. Information comes at us from several different directions, and in multiple formats. These can  be  confusing times for business owners as they navigate how to communicate their message to consumers. The marketing staff of The Messenger, troymessenger.com and I are here to successfully guide you along this path of getting the right message in front of the right person.

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The Messenger is the most trusted source for local information in Pike County and has been in printed format for more than 150 years. But, as our community evolves, so have we. Our website, troymessenger.com, whether delivered to your mobile device or desktop computer, is the leading source of digital community news in Pike County.  In addition to delivering print and electronic local news and information, we also now provide every effective of digital marketing solution available.  You can “shop local” for you digital marketing programs. We have all the best right here. . We have evolved from a trusted community newspaper to a first-class multi-media organization and I am pleased and proud to be part of this transformation in my hometown.

I thank Stacy Graning for her stewardship of The Messenger over the past 20 years.  A highly respected journalist and publisher who has won many statewide and national awards, she will be dearly missed by many in our community. But I am also looking forward to the opportunity to build on what The Messenger and its staff have meant to our community since 1866.

I very much look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. The Pike County of my childhood was exceptional, and coming home 23 years later it is clearly a better community than it once was. I am humbled to have this opportunity to be part of its future, to roll my sleeves up and pay my civic dues, and position our newspaper to be a positive reflection and part of what makes Troy and Pike County special.

Finally, thank you to the people in this community who have reached out to my family and me since we moved here to welcome us home.

Bobby Rice is president of Troy Publications, Inc. and publisher of the Messenger. Email him at bobby.rice@troymessenger.com.