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Jones established the Florida Daily Times in 1881 and consolidated it with the Daily Florida Union in 1882 to form the present-day Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. He emphasized news-gathering, recruited a chain of correspondents across Florida and was a crusading editorialist. Under his ownership, the Times-Union grew to be the largest and most powerful newspaper in the state in the 1880s.
Jones was elected the fourth president of the Florida Press Association and served two terms in 1885 and 1886. He worked to make the organization more of an advocate for concerns affecting newspapers and a forum for discussion of industry problems.
He was a key figure in founding the National Editorial Association in 1885 and the American Newspaper Publishers Association in 1887.
In 1888 Jones sold the Times-Union. He moved on to build a distinguished career in national journalism.