Jeffrey M. Peyton has been appointed Vice President of Lakeway Publishers of Missouri, Inc. Peyton will succeed Walt Gilbert, who retired in August after 50 years in journalism. Peyton joined Lakeway in May as publisher of the Lincoln County Journal, Troy Free Press and Lake St. Louis Newstime.
R. Jack Fishman, in making the announcement, thanked Gilbert for his many years of service to community journalism in the area. “He had dedicated his life to providing quality news coverage for the area and enables each of our papers to be a part of their communities.”“We are fortunate in being able to secure Jeff to follow Walt with the experience, dedication and ability that he has. Lakeway is committed to our communities and are confident with Jeff’s background and leadership that each of the papers in Missouri will continue to be of service to their readers and advertisers.
Peyton, age 51, said his position is really two distinct roles: as chief advocate for Lakeway newspaper readers, and as a strategic marketing resource for advertisers.
As a reader advocate, Peyton said he will work with local news staff to produce content that builds community. “Reporters are taught to frame their news coverage around five basic questions: What, where, when, why, and how,” he explained. “I want us to provide our readers with the context they really need, and that means looking at those five questions from a different perspective.”
Who is reading this? Why is this important to the reader? How will this affect the reader? What can the reader do about it? “These,” Peyton said, “are the questions that really matter in community journalism.”
For advertisers, Peyton will be exercising his “strategic marketing” muscles. “Let’s be clear about this,” he said. “My job is not to sell anybody anything. My job is to help local businesses to succeed. Period.”
Peyton brings to Lakeway dozens of years in newspaper management as well as a decade of digital marketing leadership. He has worked in Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois and most recently Pennsylvania, collecting press association awards across the country for editorial, photography, and advertising excellence.
“Those awards were not mine alone,” Peyton said. “They were the result of a lot of people putting a ton of hard work toward a single shared vision. There is no such thing as a successful one-person show.”
Producing high-quality community newspapers takes a strong team effort, Peyton added. “I’ve had the great fortune to work with a lot of dedicated people over the years. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with the incredibly talented folks assembled here at Lakeway.”
Throughout his career, Peyton has been active in area Chambers of Commerce, Rotary International, the World Trade Center organization, and community theater associations, most recently as a member of the Lebanon (Pa.) Community Theatre board of directors. He and his wife, Elaina, live in Wentzville, Mo.