The Associated Press

Joel P. Smith

EUFAULA, Ala. (AP) - Joel P. Smith, the longtime publisher of the Eufaula Tribune, died Thursday. He was 80.

He died at his home after suffering from heart problems, his family said.

Smith, a Florida State University graduate, worked at The Birmingham News, Birmingham Post-Herald and Geneva Reaper before going into partnership with the owner of the Eufaula Tribune in 1958.

He became publisher the following year and acquired sole ownership in 1974. He sold the paper to Media General in 2006 after a career that won the paper more than 50 first place awards in the annual Alabama Press Association newspaper contest.

Smith worked at the paper alongside his wife, Ann, and their son, Jack, who became editor in 1999. Smith also published the Cuthbert (Ga.) Times-News Record for 25 years before its closure in 1998.

He was a past president of the Alabama Press Association, which honored him and his wife with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He was also a founding officer of the APA Journalism Foundation