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Republic’s Drewry retires

Speaking with Nick Drewry, it’s clear that he considers his long career in newspapers one of the defining choices of his life.

Drewry, president of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress, is retiring at the end of this month after nearly 45 years working in the newspaper industry, with 23 at Republic.

“My life has been defined by my newspaper work. And for that reason, I’m going to miss it when I’m gone. For many, many years, during the first half of my career, my entire life revolved around nothing but 60-hour or more weeks of the newspaper business, being at the papers, and it’s hard for that to not end up being the defining feature of your life,” Drewry said.

“The people are what I’ll miss, not the work so much,” he added with a laugh.

Drewry began his newspaper career as a pressroom worker with the Ruston (La.) Daily Leader, while he was a junior in college. After graduating, he joined the advertising staff of the Daily Leader and eventually was promoted to advertising manager, then to business manager.

General manager of the newspaper when he left to come to Tennessee in 1976, Drury became part owner and publisher of Roane County News, Morgan County News, and eventually of Harriman Record and Rockwood Times.

In 1988, Drewry came to work for Republic Newspapers and Doug Horne.

“That’s when Doug put together the original thought and plan, that he thought Farragut should have its own newspaper. And I had the background and experience he was looking for,” Drewry said.

Sept. 13 of that year was the first issue of the Press Enterprise, which was renamed farragutpress in 2000.

“I started it, put it together, hired the first staff, all that, and was the first publisher of the farragutpress. But in 1989, we bought five papers in North Carolina ... so that’s when I became more of a corporate officer,” Drewry said.

Drewry’s unique experiences in nearly every department of a newspaper have given him experience that’s not so usual in the trade today.

“I was lucky; very lucky to be able to do all of it, and later, it became very valuable experience,” he said.

To Drewry, looking back over 45 years of newspaper work, there is a future for the newspaper industry.

“Contrary to popular belief, the newspaper industry is not a dead industry,” he said.

“Non-daily newspapers are still a fairly sought-after product. Because non-daily newspapers are normally small town papers, they concentrate on school news, school sports and those are the kinds of things local people want to read about.

“We do something that’s not really online anywhere,” he added.

Drewry and wife, Kay, have been married for 26 years. He has two children and one stepdaughter, as well as four grandchildren.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren,” Drewry said of his retirement.

Kay, is office manager of McPherson law office in Kingston.

His daughter, Heather, has one childe and lives in Knoxville as does Drewry’s son, Tom.

His stepdaughter, Tara, lives in Cookeville with her husband and three children.

In addition, Drury said he’s looking forward to pursuing his hobbies, including catching up on reading fiction novels, as well as doing more volunteer work.


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