The Daily Mountain Eagle has officially announced Ed Howell as its news editor.
Howell returned to the Eagle on Feb. 13 and will be tasked with not only covering certain news beats but also serving as a leader in the editorial department.
Publisher James Phillips said the move is a part of an ongoing restructuring at the newspaper.
“We have made some organizational changes in a few areas of our newspaper in recent weeks,” Phillips said. “During my first several months as publisher, I spent a great deal of time evaluating areas where we could improve. Hiring Ed Howell as news editor is a product of that evaluation process. His experience as a newsman in our state is a valuable addition to our organization. In the two weeks since Ed’s arrival, I feel our news product has already shown great improvement.”
Howell said he is excited to return to the DME.
“I am honored and humbled that I have been hired for this position,” Howell said. “I have so many friends at the Eagle whom I fondly remember from the five years I was at the Eagle, from 2003 to 2008. It is like a homecoming of sorts. James Phillips and the staff have been so generous and patient with an old dog trying to learn some new tricks. I’m coming to a newsroom where I am impressed with every individual here, and I am proud to work with all of them.”
Overall, Howell said the Eagle is a great institution in Walker County and that he is incredibly blessed to come back, adding he feels God opened some doors to come back to a county that is now on the upswing in industry, retail, the arts and other areas.
“It is a great time to come back. I’m at home here, and I want to assist and nurture the newspaper and the county,” Howell said. “I don’t feel I deserve this honor, but I will do what I can to be fair, to encourage and to grow what we have here at the Eagle and in this county — and to grow along with it. I can only ask for your prayers and thank the Eagle for this opportunity.”
Howell, who turns 54 on March 25, is a native of Winfield and a 1981 graduate of Winfield City High School. He also attended Brewer State Junior College (now Bevill State Community College) in Fayette and graduated the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1985 with a journalism degree.
After part-time work for two years at the South Marion office of the Times-Record of Fayette, Howell went on to work full-time as a staff writer at the Daily Home in Talladega and as news editor of the Home Record (later the Sumter County Record) in Livingston. He then worked for 11 years as news editor at the Journal Record in Hamilton, followed by several years each as a staff writer at the Clanton Advertiser and the Daily Mountain Eagle. After a brief period working in radio in Jasper, he returned to the Journal Record in 2009, where he served as assistant news editor.
Howell, the son of Tommy Howell and the late Joan Howell of Winfield, is proud that over 35 years he has served a combined two decades covering news in the area of Walker and Marion counties.
As someone who has enjoyed covering politics, he has covered every governor since the late George Wallace and noted he has covered the progress of U.S. Interstate 22 for years.
“I was there when U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby came to Hamilton,” Howell said. “Citizens dragged this reluctant senator, who had come for a quick speech, to see the interstate. He was then flabbergasted to see the interstate ended abruptly in the middle of nowhere. ‘That’s what we were trying to tell you,’ the officials told him. After that, federal money started pouring in.”
He has been a member at times of various chapters of Kiwanis International and is a current member of First Baptist Church of Hamilton until he can find a local church.