Paxton Media Group

Paxton Media Group of Paducah, Kentucky, is a privately held media company with holdings that include newspapers and a TV station, WPSD-TV in Paducah. David M. Paxton is president and CEO.

Paxton Media Group, LLC
Founded1896, Paducah, Kentucky
Headquarters201 South 4th Street, Paducah, Kentucky 42003 United States
Key people
David M. Paxton, President & CEO
ProductsNewspapers, Media
Footnotes / references

The company owns 32 daily newspapers and numerous weekly newspapers, mostly in the southern United States. Daily circulation totals 350,000. Holdings include The Paducah Sun, the High Point Enterprise in High Point, North Carolina, the Jonesboro Sun in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the Daily Star in Hammond, Louisiana and The Daily Citizen in Searcy, Arkansas.


Paxton Media Group traces it roots to 1896, when a group of investors headed by William F. Paxton launched The Evening Sun by buying the assets of the failing Paducah Standard at 214 Broadway. The cost was $8,900, and the men started with $10,000 capital. The newspaper did not make a profit until 1918. In 1929, Paxton's son, Edwin J. Paxton, who had taken over as editor, bought out the rival News-Democrat. After the merger, the newspaper became The Sun-Democrat, and operations were moved to the current location at 408 Kentucky Avenue in 1934. The name changed to The Paducah Sun in 1978 at the request of Jack Paxton, editor at the time and grandson of Edwin J. Paxton.[1]

At 4:20 p.m. May 28, 1957, WPSD television, (the PSD stands for Paducah Sun-Democrat) went on the air as the company-owned television station based in Paducah. It is an NBC affiliate.

The company operated only The Paducah Sun and WPSD-TV until 1989, when it began acquiring other newspapers.

In 1998, the company purchased Nixon Newspapers Inc which included the Wabash Plain Dealer, located in Wabash, Indiana.

In December 2004, Paxton Media Group purchased The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina. At the time of the purchase Paxton Media Group already owned 7 other newspapers in North Carolina. Durham, N.C., is home to Duke University. In 2003, The Hearld-Sun drew criticism[3] during the Duke Lacrosse false rape accusation scandal. In late December 2016, Paxton sold The Herald-Sun to The McClatchy Company.

In 2007, Paxton Media Group purchased three Indiana newspapers: the Marion Chronicle-Tribune (in July) from the Gannett Foundation; the Huntington Herald-Press (in May) from the Quayle family; and the LaPorte County Herald-Argus from Small Newspaper Group (in September).

Paxton purchased the Mayfield Messenger in Kentucky in June 2015.[4] In May 2016, Paxton purchased The Elkhart Truth in Indiana.[5]

In 2017, Paxton acquired the Grayson County News Gazette, the News Democrat Leader, and the Macon County Times from Civitas Media.[6] In January 2018, Paxton purchased the Daily Herald in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, from Wick Communications.[7] In June 2018, it purchased The Batesville Daily Guard in Arkansas from the Jones family.[8] In November 2018, Paxton purchased the Kentucky New Era.[9] In May 2019, it purchased The Rochester Sentinel in Indiana.[10] By June 2019, Paxton acquired four additional Arkansas newspapers, including Conway's Log Cabin Democrat, Clinton's Van Buren County Democrat, The Sun-Times in Heber Springs, and the Newport Independent.[11]

Business practicesEdit

Durham Herald-SunEdit

Paxton Media Group was criticized when it fired nearly 25 percent of the employees of The Herald-Sun, many of them longtime staples of the newsroom, the day it assumed ownership. Paxton defended the move by claiming that the newsroom was overstaffed and the salaries were causing the Durham, North Carolina paper to post annual losses.[1][12] According to the Durham-based Independent Weekly, sources familiar with the Herald-Sun, Co.'s accounting ledgers, the company was operating profitably at least 6 months prior to Paxton's $124 million purchase.[13]

Allegations of lackluster and biased reporting by Paxton Media Group's holdings became news, again, with the dismissal of charges against the suspects in the Duke lacrosse rape case, when it became clear that The Herald-Sun editorial policy would not permit the paper to publish criticism of Durham district attorney Mike Nifong[citation needed], despite the fact that Nifong was facing ethics charges by the North Carolina State Bar and demands by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys that Nifong remove himself from the case.[14][15][16][17][18] In December 2016, Paxton Media sold The Herald-Sun to The McClatchy Company, owner of a competitor newspaper, The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.[19]

La Porte Herald-ArgusEdit

In September 2007, Paxton purchased the Herald-Argus of La Porte, Indiana amidst rumors that the paper would either be moved, merged, or have its staff severely cut, due to the recent acquisition of a number of rural newspapers in northern Indiana.[20] In order to allay those rumors, then-publisher John A. Newby wrote a column that firmly stated that the Herald-Argus was profitable and "lean" and therefore would not see any dramatic changes.[21][22] Despite published claims to the contrary, in October, shortly after taking over operation of the paper, Paxton Media laid-off about half its staff at the Herald-Argus and moved its production location to that of the Paxton-owned Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Michigan, which by Paxton's own admission, has negatively impacted the paper's ability to publish timely local news.[23][24] Reminiscent of the abrupt manner in which the Herald-Sun firings were conducted, at least one longtime Herald-Argus staffer was notified of her termination via certified mail while she recovered from surgery at home.[23][25] The remaining Herald-Argus staffers and the staffers at other nearby Paxton-owned papers were specifically instructed not to publish information regarding the Herald-Argus staff cuts and production changes.[23] The Herald-Argus' website has also removed the 17 September 2007 column which promised that there would be no staff cuts or relocation of the paper's offices under Paxton's watch.

In July 2008, Paxton consolidated operations even more, making the publisher, managing editor, and other editorial management the same for both papers.

High Point EnterpriseEdit

On 15 November 2007, reports indicate that Paxton dramatically cut the staff of the High Point Enterprise in High Point, North Carolina, which Paxton took control of in 2004.[26] This is the third round of layoffs since 1999, when Paxton first purchased a stake in the paper. Senior Enterprise staff frequently criticized Paxton's management of the paper, arguing that there was a quantifiable reduction in local coverage.[27]





List is incomplete -


  • WPSD-TV - Paducah, Kentucky
  • Sun Publishing[28] - Paducah, Kentucky
  • WFKN - Franklin, Kentucky


  • Morgan, Fiona (2005-01-12). "Paxton may have overpaid for Herald-Sun". The Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  • Morgan, Fiona (2006-01-18). "Inside The Herald-Sun: One year after a traumatic takeover by the Paxton Media chain, Durham's hometown newspaper offers more local content, but less news". The Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  • Strauss, Michael (2007-10-23). "Truth News: Intermodal... Hot Topic but who weighs in?". Michigan City News Dispatch.[permanent dead link] - Mayoral candidate alleges discrimination by the La Porte Herald Argus in an online blog posted by the Michigan City News Dispatch, another Paxton Media Group paper.
  • "Paxton Media Group LLC". The Center for Public Integrity. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. - List of Paxton Media Group's daily newspapers
  • Moses, Lucia (1999-08-07). "For almost a century, the Paxton family business was just a one-newspaper operation, The Paducah..." Editor & Publisher. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  • Gray, Tim (2005-07-01). "Paper cuts: as about 80 employees--and the new owner--of the Durham Herald-Sun learned, they..." Business North Carolina. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
  1. ^ a b c Clemmons, Laura A. (2005). "Paxton Media Group extends its influence far beyond its Western Kentucky base". Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues, University of Kentucky. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  2. ^ "Paxton Media Group LLC Company Profile". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  3. ^ "Critics decry local paper's coverage". The Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  4. ^ "Paxton Media Group Acquires Mayfield (KY) Messenger". Editor & Publisher. June 4, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "Paxton Media Group Acquires Elkhart Truth". Editor & Publisher. May 2, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Quarterly Updates - 3rd Quarter 2017". Dirks, Van Essen & Murray. 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  7. ^ "Paxton Media Group purchases The Daily Herald". The Daily Herald. 2018-01-31. Archived from the original on 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  8. ^ "Paxton Media acquires Batesville paper". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  9. ^ "Kentucky New Era sells to Paxton Media Group". Kentucky New Era. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  10. ^ "Paxton Media buys Indiana daily". Newspapers & Technology. 2019-06-15. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  11. ^ "Paxton Media Group acquires Log Cabin Democrat". Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  12. ^ "Veteran Employees Surprised By Rapid Firings When Paxton Buys Herald-Sun". National Press Photographers Association. 2005-01-05. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  13. ^ Morgan, Fiona (2005-01-12). "Paxton may have overpaid for Herald-Sun". The Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  14. ^ "Duke Rape Suspects Speak Out". 60 Minutes. 2006-10-15.
  15. ^ Neff, Joseph (2006-08-06). "Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28.
  16. ^ "Nifong's move". The News & Observer. 2006-12-23.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Investigate the investigation". The Charlotte Observer. 2006-12-23. p. 12A.
  18. ^ "The prosecutor is guilty". The Star-Ledger. 2006-12-30. p. 022.
  19. ^ Murawski, John (2016-12-21). "McClatchy buying Durham Herald-Sun newspaper in North Carolina". McClatchy DC Bureau. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  20. ^ "Paxton Media Group buys another Northern Indiana paper, getting monopoly on dailies in county". The Rural Blog. 2007-09-09. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  21. ^ Newby, John A. (2007-09-17). "Sale of H-A does not impact a legacy!". Herald-Argus. Google Cache. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2007-12-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  22. ^ "Huntington (IN) Herald-Press Sold to Paxton Media Group". Suburban Newspapers of America. 2007-05-01. Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
  23. ^ a b c Staff (2007-11-08). "Paxton Reported to be Cutting Dozens of Jobs in LaPorte, Ind". Editor and Publisher. Retrieved 2007-12-20.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Speak Out!: About those lottery numbers/Where're the stocks?". Herald-Argus. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2007-12-20.[dead link]
  25. ^ Craig, Randy (2007-11-09). "Things Fall Apart". Readership 101. Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  26. ^ Robinson, John (2007-11-15). "Layoffs in High Point". Greensboro News & Record. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  27. ^ Morgan, Fiona (2004-12-08). "Herald-Sun becomes a link in chain". The Independent Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-09-09. Retrieved 2007-06-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)