Bob Parkins was a local dairyman when he and wife Dorris founded the Milan Mirror in 1965, launching a career and family legacy of community journalism. Parkins purchased The Milan Exchange in 1977, naming the new enterprise The Milan Mirror-Exchange. The Exchange was 103 years older at the time. Without pretence, Parkins distinguished his newspaper by winning countless Tennessee Press Association awards and himself through leadership in the industry he loved as president of the Tennessee Press Association. He published and edited the paper until his death in 2008. For several years he served as a state correspondent for The Nashville Tennessean, filing community features and occasional hard news pieces at a time when city papers tried to cover more territory through the use of stringers. It helped keep Gibson County, in central West Tennessee, connected to the world.