Phil Hensley has been named as vice president of circulation for Lakeway Publishers and circulation director for the Citizen Tribune.
Hensley comes to the Tribune after 37 years of working at the Johnson City Press and a nine-month stint at the Opelika-Auburn News in Opelika, Alabama.
For Hensley, the opportunity to work at the Citizen Tribune also meant a homecoming. He grew up in Morristown, playing football at Morristown-Hamblen High School East.
“It was something I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
Hensley has been married for almost 35 years and has two daughters and two grandchildren. He took the position after longtime Vice President of Circulation Donald Lovelace Jr. left the Citizen Tribune.
Hensley was born in Knoxville, but spent most of his childhood in Morristown when his family moved here when he was six years old. He attended elementary, middle and high school in Hamblen County.
After he graduated from East High School, he left to attend East Tennessee State University.
He first considered sports broadcasting at ETSU, but found the major changed on him. During his college years, he landed a job as district manager helper in circulation at the Johnson City Press and decided he had a taste for the news business.
Over the years, he rose to district manager then zone manager and in 1991 became circulation director for the Johnson City paper.
He later went back to school and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Milligan College in 1998.
Hensley comes to the Citizen Tribune as newspapers find themselves in a period of transition. But, Hensley said he is not letting that deter him and he plans on bringing some ideas to the table.
He said he felt the Citizen Tribune is well ingrained into the community, which is something newspapers need to do and the Morristown newspaper is already on solid ground.
“I love circulation,” he said. “I believe in what we do.”
He said he believes in newspapers being a fabric of their communities.
“I still believe a newspaper is vital to our community, to our way of life, to our democracy, to our political system,” he said. “That’s why I’m so passionate in delivering this product. Because I think it’s vital.”