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Democrat-Reporter announces new co-owners

This story first appeared on the Selma Times-Journal website by Will Whaley.

A story in the Thursday edition of The Democrat-Reporter announced the weekly newspaper in Linden has been sold to C.T. Harless and Sabrina McMahan. Harless will be owner/ publisher with McMahan handling marketing and distribution.

This ownership change comes after former publisher, owner and editor Goodloe Sutton received widespread condemnation in February for what was considered racist and violent rhetoric when he published an editorial calling for the “Ku Klux Klan to night ride again” to clean up Washington, D.C. from “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats who are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.”

In the story, the new owners said “They will be working diligently to bring the family newspaper back to the families of Linden and Marengo County.”

“We are going to report community news,” they said in the story. “We are going to write about the local issues, engagements, a cooking section, crossword puzzle humor … [we] look forward to having a family paper with a family relationship with all residents of Marengo County.”

After Sutton’s controversial editorial, he relinquished control of the Marengo County newspaper to Elecia Dexter who later resigned as publisher and editor on March 18.

Dexter, who started at the newspaper in late December, said when she accepted the leadership role at the Democrat-Reporter she was looking forward to taking the newspaper in a new direction.

“He had told me he wanted me to take over everything. I wasn’t sure how things would work out, but I saw it as an opportunity to change the narrative and rebuild the community’s trust in the newspaper,” Dexter said.

However, she said Sutton was fixated on publishing a story he wrote as a response to a previous article about him that was published by the Montgomery Advertiser.

“I was able to negate him from putting it in the Feb. 28 edition. But, I later found out he went back, reworked the front page to include that article, and then emailed it to media outlets and advertisers,” she said.

Efforts to reach Harless and McMahan by phone were not returned, and attempts to email the co-owners were met with failure to deliver statuses.