DULUTH – Longtime journalist Roger Alford has been named editor of the Christian Index, the nation’s oldest continuously published religious newspaper founded in 1822.
Alford, 59, brings to the Index nearly four decades of journalism experience, which include a long stint with The Associated Press, the world’s largest news-gathering operation.
“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead this historic publication,” Alford said. “It’s no secret that all newspapers have been struggling in recent decades with plummeting circulation and revenue, and the Index hasn’t been spared from those struggles. But I truly believe brighter days lie ahead, and I count it a privilege to lead this nearly 200-year-old newspaper as it enters its third century of service.”
Alford, whose appointment is effective May 1, was the founding editor of Kentucky Today, an online newspaper serving Kentucky Baptists. That newspaper, launched five years ago, has been remarkably successful, recording 1.8 million page views between January and December of last year.
“Roger’s experience in both secular and sacred media has uniquely prepared him for this role,” said Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director Thomas Hammond. “He has a proven track record for developing the kinds of innovative approaches needed to ensure that the Index continues as a vibrant and trusted source of information for Georgia’s 1.2 million Southern Baptists.”
Alford began his journalism career working for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group as a reporter in the southeastern Kentucky town of Middlesboro. He worked at newspapers in Ashland, Kent., Portsmouth, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio, before joining The Associated Press, first as a correspondent covering the impoverished central Appalachian region, and later covering government and politics.
Late in his career with The Associated Press, Alford surrendered to the Lord and became a bi-vocational pastor at Long Ridge Baptist Church in Owenton, Kentucky. It was during that time that International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood, then executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, invited Alford to become the KBC communications director. Alford remained in that role for five years before moving to the IMB for a brief stint as vice president for communications. He has been serving as pastor of South Fork Baptist Church in Kentucky for the past two years.
“All across Georgia, our churches are engaged in unique ministries aimed at getting the Gospel to the multitudes, and our people are out there on the frontlines every day serving in amazing ways,” Alford said. “I look forward to giving ‘honor unto whom honor is due’ by telling their stories in the pages of the Index.”
Alford and his wife, Susan, have three grown children, Emily, a teacher, Josh, a technology consultant, and Mary, a journalist.