A native of Mingo County who began his career as a reporter for The Williamson Daily News is returning as editor of the newspaper.
Mark Francis, who was born and raised in the Gilbert, WV, area, has been named a regional director of content for Civitas Media, overseeing editorial operations for a group of newspapers in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Francis will oversee publications in Williamson, Logan, Madison, Pineville and Gilbert, WV, and Kentucky newspapers in Hazard and Prestonsburg.
Francis, who most recently was an editor at The Villages in Florida, said he is excited to return home.
“No matter where my career has taken me, my heart has remained in the mountains of West Virginia, and now I’ve come full circle with a desire to bring our readers the news and features that will inform and entertain them, and will enable them to participate fully in the communities in which they live,” he said.
Francis replaces Joshua Byers who has accepted a new position within the company.
“Mark’s depth and breadth of experience will serve him well in his new role,” said Jim Lawitz, Director of Content for Civitas Media. “I’m pleased to have his leadership at our publications during this exciting period in our industry.”
Francis, who graduated from Gilbert High School, and received a journalism degree from Marshall University in Huntington, was hired for his first position as sports editor of the Daily News. After leaving for a brief time to work as a reporter for The Raleigh Register in Beckley and the Charleston Daily Mail, he returned to the Daily News, where he became a reporter, eventually covering all beats, from police to local government and education.
He left Williamson in 1988 for the assistant city editor’s position at The Post-Journal in Jamestown, N.Y. After being promoted to city editor, he left to become managing editor of The Richmond Register in Richmond, Ky. He then spent nearly three years as public relations director at Prestonsburg Community College before moving to Florida.
Francis said he looks forward to getting his wife, Kelly, and their son, Joseph, settled and becoming re-acquainted with the area and its people.
Francis can be reached at 304-235-4242, ext. 22.
(Centrally located in Davidson, N.C., Civitas Media encompasses more than 100 publications, many of which have served their communities for more than a century. Civitas, Latin for “community” or citizen” is a union of four media entities formerly known as Heartland Publications, Freedom Central, Impressions Media and Ohio Community Media. Civitas, which employs more than 1,400 associates across 11 states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, publishes 35 daily, 28 weekend editions and 63 weekly publications for a combined circulation of more than 1.6 million.)