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Jack L. Tannehill


The Neshoba Democrat & The Union Appeal
Inducted June 18, 1999

Jack Long Tannehill was born into a politically active newspaper family in Winfield, La., in 1913. His contributions affected many newspapers across the state and his influence on individual journalists and the profession was profound.

Tannehill began his career at the age of 12 working for his older sister who owned the Winfield News American. After attending Louisiana College, he became editor of the newspaper and was later editor of the St. Tammany Farmer in Covington, La. In 1953 he moved his family to Philadelphia when he and an absentee partner acquired The Neshoba Democrat from the late Duke Thornton.

The Democrat at the time was printed on a flatbed offset press – the first installed in Mississippi. Realizing the potential and future of offset printing before his contemporaries, Tannehill in 1960 purchased and install a two-unit Fairchild News King press, the first web offset in the state. By the mid-60s his plant was printing several “camera-ready” newspapers.

Tannehill provided a calm voice during the civil rights movement of the period. He utilized both his platform with The Neshoba Democrat and his personal influence with other community leaders to guide Philadelphia through its most turbulent days. He was able to maintain his integrity as a journalist while taking the role of a community leader and, often, peacemaker.

Tannehill left a great legacy of helping young journalists break into the business, and would continue to advise them even after they left The Neshoba Democrat or The Union Appeal. His legacy continued through his son, Jack, who took over publishing The Union Appeal until he sold the newspaper in 2012.

As a community leader, Tannehill spent more time outside of his newspaper than inside. He was an active member of the local industrial board and was a leader in the drive which passed a bond issue to build a new elementary school with more than 80 percent of the vote.
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