Jimmy Hart, executive editor of The Daily News Journal and DNJ.com in Murfreesboro, has been named director of news and media relations for Middle Tennessee State University.
Hart, 40, replaces Tom Tozer, who retired from MTSU in January after almost two decades of service to the University.
In his new role, Hart will serve as editor of MTSUNews.com, the university’s news and information website, and will direct a team that produces multimedia content for media outlets, university publications and WMOT-FM, the university’s public radio station.
Hart, who will also manage MTSU’s day-to-day media outreach to area and national news organizations, will begin his new role in early May.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the MTSU community in this new role and have seen firsthand the tremendous amount of growth and energy that surrounds the Blue Raider community,” Hart said.
“MTSU has a great story to tell, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help spread it throughout the Midstate and beyond.”
Hart, a native of Lexington, Tenn., and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, directed coverage of Rutherford and Cannon counties for all Gannett Tennessee publications, including The Tennessean, in his role as editor of the DNJ. He joined the DNJ Media Group in spring 2006 after serving for 11 years as a reporter and city editor for The Jackson Sun.
He established DNJ.com as Rutherford County’s leading digital news source, overseeing its growth from about 750,000 page views per month in 2007 to 2.5 million to 3 million page views per month today. Hart also launched several digital initiatives at the DNJ, including BlueRaiders.com, a site devoted to coverage of MTSU athletics; BoroParty.com, a nightlife and entertainment website; and RutherfordSociety.com, which covers local society events.
Under Hart’s leadership, the DNJ received top honors from the Tennessee Press Association for its print and digital coverage of the 2009 Good Friday tornadoes that struck Murfreesboro.
The newspaper’s public service coverage also has received several TPA honors during Hart’s tenure, as well as national recognition as a finalist in the Gannett Freedom of Information Awards in 2008.
“Jimmy has a wealth of media experience, particularly with multimedia content management, and he will help extend and bolster our efforts to draw attention to the good works of our university,” said Andrew Oppmann, MTSU’s associate vice president for marketing and communications.
“We are pleased to find someone with strong media credentials and a deep understanding of the middle Tennessee area and our university.”
Hart lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Carla, and their three sons.