RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Media General Inc. Chairman John Stewart Bryan III, the former publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has died. He was 77.
The fourth and final generation of his family to work in the media business, Bryan died Saturday, according to Paige Mudd, editor of The Times-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1SctENK). He had suffered a fall at his home on Jan. 15 and had been hospitalized since then.
Bryan's death comes amid a bidding contest between Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. of Texas and Iowa's Meredith Corp. to merge with Media General.
From 1978 to 2004, Bryan served as publisher of The Times-Dispatch. His great-grandfather acquired the newspaper in 1887, and his father served as publisher for more than three decades.
Bryan took the reins of Media General in 1990.
He grew the publicly traded company that his father had created in 1969 into a multimillion-dollar corporation that now owns 71 television stations. Media General left the publishing business in 2012 when it sold its newspapers, including The Times-Dispatch, to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
"We have kept an eye on government," Bryan said about the role that his newspapers and television stations have played. "I think the press has played an enormous role in the history of the United States. I have been a proud part of it."
Marshall N. Morton, Media General's former president and CEO, said Mr. Bryan believed media companies have an obligation to serve the public.
"It was fun working for a man who felt he had a duty to his company as opposed to someone who just worked for it," Morton said.
Thomas A. Silvestri, president and publisher of The Times-Dispatch, said Mr. Bryan's death is a sad time for employees, retirees and readers of the newspaper. He succeeded Bryan as publisher in 2004.
"I've also lost a valued mentor whose lessons will never be forgotten and always appreciated," Silvestri said.