Georges earn Newspaper Hall honors
Ben and Elizabeth “Libba” George, former publishers of The Demopolis Times, will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor this fall.
The Georges will be the first husband-wife team inducted into the Hall of Honor at the same time. The couple published The Demopolis Times from 1936 to 1967, though the paper had been in Libba’s family for many years.
Libba George’s father, Edward S. Cornish, and her brother, George A. Cornish, were inducted into the Hall of Honor in 1968 and 1994, respectively.
“We think it is wonderful,” said daughter Jayne Watson of her parents’ induction this year. “We were over there (at the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor) when my granddaddy had been inducted and my Uncle George was inducted, also, many years ago. We were very pleased.
“They built a hometown newspaper that they were determined would build Demopolis, rather than tearing it down, so anything that happened that was negative, they always put a positive light on it. I think their values showed in whatever they did.”
Ben George started work at the paper in 1930, and became publisher in 1936. He served as president of the Alabama Press Association in 1956. He was active in the Demopolis community serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the Demopolis City Board of Education.
Libba worked at the paper for more than five decades, and was also active in community affairs. She was president of the Demopolis PTA, was a Sunday School teacher at the First Methodist Church for more than 60 years, and was a volunteer tutor for the dyslexia program.
She was named Outstanding Citizen in Demopolis in 1980, nominated for Alabama Mother of the Year, and was honored by the Alabama Department of Human Resources for founding the faith-based “Bargain Box,” a household goods and clothing service. The Georges remained active in APA, attending conventions for more than 20 years after they sold the paper in 1967.
“I do remember Mother’s columns, called ‘The Rambling Reporter,’” said daughter Martha Griffith. “She was a very good writer, and thank goodness Daddy was there, because she didn’t spell very well. Daddy was the editor, and he edited out all of her misspelled words, but she really was an excellent writer.
“Daddy covered all of the news in Demopolis the best that he could. He was everywhere! But some things that could have been sensationalized, he chose just to give the facts, and nothing else. They had some pretty high principles, below which they would not go. If it meant selling more newspapers or more advertising, they would not go there. It was not their way of doing business.”
The ceremony honoring the Georges will be held Oct. 2 at Auburn University. The program time has not been set, pending the start time of the Auburnfootball game.