Sutton indicates deal in place to sell Democrat-Reporter

Published 8:34 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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The owner of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden has said a deal is in place to sell the newspaper.

In a report by the Associated Press, Goodloe Sutton said this week’s edition of the newspaper could be his last. Sutton is the owner of the newspaper and is the publisher and editor.

Democrat-Reporter editor and publisher Goodloe Sutton has said a deal in place to sell the newspaper that’s been in his family since 1917. | Facebook Photo

Sutton drew nationwide attention for an editorial he penned and published on Feb. 14 calling for the “Klan to ride again.” In the aftermath of that controversy, Elecia Dexter, a black woman who began working at the Democrat-Reporter in late December, was promoted to the positions of editor and publisher. She resigned last week citing Sutton’s interference.

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Linden Mayor Charles Moore told the Demopolis Times Monday that he had spoken to the owner of another newspaper who was considering purchasing the Democrat-Reporter, adding that he is unsure if new leadership would improve the newspaper’s standing. “I would hope so,” he said. “I really do.”

The Democrat-Reporter has been the topic of conversation at recent Linden City Council meetings. The newspaper has been operating without a business license since 2016. The city sent Sutton a letter requesting the fees be paid by March 4.

Dexter said she was told to take a check for the business license fees to city hall on March 4. “I told them that I wasn’t sure it would clear and they gave us an extension,” she said.

Those fees are now due by the end of April.

The Sutton family has owned the Democrat-Reporter since 1917 when it was purchased by Robert E. Sutton. Robert sold it to his son, Goodloe Sutton, in 1982. Goodloe Sutton, along with his wife, Jean, published the newspaper together until her death in 2003.

Sutton’s editorial that stated the Klan should ride on the “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats” led to the Alabama Press Association censuring him and suspending the newspaper’s membership. The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication and the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council each revoked previous honors presented to Sutton.