Hollis Towns Editor-in-Chief of Alabama Media Group - Photo

Hollis Towns will join Alabama Media Group as Vice President of Content and Editor in Chief, effective March 25.

Towns is a native of Fort Valley, GA, and most recently held the position of Vice President for Local News and Regional Editor at Gannett. In that senior role, he oversaw 160 daily newspapers and news websites across the country. Newsroom teams under his leadership won multiple Emmy awards for investigative journalism, were Pulitzer finalists in Public Service in 2010 and were awarded the NABJ Public Service award in 2018.

Towns says Alabama Media Group’s nationally recognized excellence drew him to the company. “Seeing the great journalism and bold digital moves taking place at Alabama Media Group was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. What’s not to love about working for a newsroom that has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes, Emmys and other top journalism awards by focusing on issues that impact local communities and where local journalism has led to new policies and laws that have helped Alabamians.”


5 Reporters from win Pulitzer Prize for Reporting and Commentary staff was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for an investigation of predatory policing in Brookside that led to removal of police officers, changes in state law, dismissal of court cases and people freed from jail.

Columnist John Archibald broke the story, and worked with investigative reporter Ashley Remkus, data reporter Ramsey Archibald and editor Challen Stephens to publish dozens of follow-up stories in 2022. John and Ashley were part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. columnist Kyle Whitmire won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his series “State of Denial.” Throughout 2022, Kyle explored larger questions: What made Alabama the way it is and why can’t the state snap out of it? State of Denial seeks to show how 150 years of whitewashed history and a rigged political system have left the state stunted.

The Online News Association named and Reckon as finalists for the prestigious Knight Award for Public Service in the Online Journalism Awards, recognizing reporting that examined policing for profit in Alabama.

The reporting series, Banking on Crime, exposed a rogue police force in the tiny north Alabama town of Brookside and examined an ankle monitor program that charged defendants $10 per day in Baldwin County along the Gulf Coast. Reckon worked with, its sister site, to produce Pulled Over/Pulled Under, an accompanying documentary that examined the historical connections between race, oppression and criminalization in the South.

Documentary Pulled Over/Pulled Under is a finalist for ONA Digital Video Storytelling, Long Form, Small/Medium Newsroom and recently was selected to be in the Sidewalk Film Festival.

Reporter Amy Yurkanin earned first place in health policy reporting from the Association of Healthcare Journalists for her work on The TennCare Trap: How one state’s war on Medicaid fraud ensnares working moms in Alabama. Her in-depth work explored the absurd world of women who live on a state border and were arrested for taking a sick child to a doctor in Tennessee and filling out a form incorrectly. Some women, after losing jobs and being displayed in local news reports, told Yurkanin they were afraid of all doctors. was a finalist in the prestigious freedom of information category of the 2021 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, as the association recognized the dogged work of reporter Ashley Remkus and editor Challen Stephens to procure bodycam footage of controversial police shootings in Huntsville, Alabama, over the strenuous objections and repeated denials of the city. The team was specifically cited for its fight for public records in the case of Huntsville Police Officer William Darby, who the city paid to defend in court, without releasing the video. He was convicted of murder.

In addition to their bodycam footage work, reporter Ashley Remkus and editor Challen Stephens also submitted the city of Huntsville for the Golden Padlock by IRE, recognizing the least transparent and most uncooperative public agency in the nation. And Huntsville won, with manifest secrecy around police that topped the lack of transparency by others including the FDA, Utah prisons and the state of Arizona. was recognized with 31 awards for its coverage of vaccines, education, sports, commentary and news at the 2022 Alabama Press Association Media Awards. The ten first-place awards included a statewide vaccine coverage by the staff, multiple columns by Roy Johnson, multiple video entries by Ivana Hrynkiw, and The Reckon Interview podcast by John Hammontree. and Alabama Media Group won multiple honors in the 2022 Green Eyeshade Awards, created to recognize “the very best journalism in the southeastern United States.”

  • In the Print Dailies division, Kyle Whitmire and Connor Sheets took first place in the Politics Reporting category for all dailies with “Sex, lies and the Alabama secretary of state: The fall of John Merrill.”
  • In the Graphics Division, J.D. Crowe won first place for newspaper editorial cartoons, for a body of work titled “Drawing tough love in a red state.”
  • In the Digital Division, Ashley Remkus and Challen Stephens won first place in Public Service in Online Journalism for “Battling police secrecy in Alabama.”
  • The Alabama Education Lab and the national collaborative also placed in the Green Eyeshades for that same “Reading Remedies” project.

Trisha Powell Crain and Amanda Khorramabadi were finalists for the Education Writers Association’s national feature writing award, for their work on Crain’s “High Flyers” project.

The Alabama Education Lab and a national collaborative of other education journalists won a Headliners Award for coverage of solutions to help more children read.

Alabama Media Group lands multiple awards, 12 Southeast Emmy nominations

The Alabama Media Group’s video team has won third place honors in an international journalism competition, and picked up 12 Southeast Emmy Awards nominations while editorial cartoonist J.D. Crowe has been named this year’s winner of the national Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for editorial cartoons.

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