By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
Jeff Parra took the reins Wednesday as the publisher of the Muskogee Phoenix, expressing excitement and confidence about his decision to join Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. and the team he inherited.
Parra is a 14-year veteran of the newspaper industry and served most recently as regional operations director for American Consolidated Media and publisher of the Waxahachie, Texas, Daily Light. The Kansas City, Kan., native said he is excited about joining “a highly respected company ... working with a great team and getting involved” with the community.
Steve McPhaul, CNHI’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, described Parra as “a great match for the Muskogee Phoenix and its dedicated, hard-working team.” McPhaul lauded Parra’s leadership abilities and considered him “a great asset to the newspaper and the community.”
After completing a five-year stint with the Marine Corps, Parra worked for a time in the hospitality industry before entering the newspaper business on the sales side. With some “hard work” and a little luck by “being in the right place at the right time,” Parra moved up the chain of command.
Parra began his newspaper career at the Joplin, Mo., Globe in 1994, a CNHI newspaper owned then by Ottaway Newspapers. Parra later served as associate publisher at the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis LLC; The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.; and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens, Mich.
Parra said his move to Muskogee advances not only his professional ambitions, it also provides him with an opportunity to move closer to his sons. Both of them — one a senior and the other a junior — play high school football for a “powerhouse team” in Webb City, Mo., just outside Joplin.
Parra said he sees “a world of opportunity” in Muskogee. His sights are set on increasing circulation and advertising revenue by being the “pinnacle of reporting” for the community, its residents and business owners.
“I still firmly believe the print newspapers are a viable source of information, especially in the rural and smaller towns,” Parra said about growing circulation numbers. “Whether it’s covering the police, city government or reporting school news ... we are the voice of the community, and I can’t imagine residents don’t want to know about ... what affects them, their family, friends and status.”
With regard to advertising revenue, Parra said he sees the Phoenix as a vehicle of success for area businesses. When business owners are successful, Parra said, the community also succeeds. His desire is to make that happen.
“My aspiration is to be the leading newspaper within the CNHI group, getting involved in the community, serving our readers, and helping businesses succeed,” Parra said.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.