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Clisby, Joseph

Editor Joseph Clisby was born in Medford, Massachusetts on May 31, 1818. Clisby was a successful newspaper editor in Florida before he purchased the Macon Telegraph in 1855. He was a pioneer in modern journalism, believing newspapers should communicate news, not shape public opinion. To better achieve this goal, he transformed the Telegraph from a weekly to a daily in 1860. His coverage of the Civil War was much more even-handed than most newspapers of his day, though like so many Southerners, he became embittered as the war neared its end. Poor health and the loss of his son spurred him to sell the Telegraph in 1864, though he returned as editor in 1868. Now he encouraged the South to accept defeat and look forward, primarily by searching for ways to improve the area’s prominently agricultural economy. Clisby also supported public education and was a member of Bibb County’s first board of public education. A stroke left him an invalid in 1881, and he died at home in Macon on February 26, 1885.