Steve Weddle has been on a fast track since he first ventured into the newspaper business in the mid-1990s. From his start as a part-time ad compositor, Weddle has risen swiftly through the ranks and was recently named vice president of Lakeway Publishers of Virginia.
Lakeway Publishers Inc., based in Morristown, Tenn., owns 35 dailies, weeklies, shoppers, magazines and radio stations in Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri, including The Central Virginian.
The media conglomerate acquired The Central Virginian, Herald-Progress and former Goochland Courier on Jan. 1, 2008 when it purchased the three weeklies from The CV Corporation of Virginia.
Weddle moved from Northumberland County to Louisa in 2008 to take the helm as publisher of The CV and Goochland Courier, leaving his post as editor and general manager of the Northern Neck News. While there, he was also responsible for The Caroline Progress, Westmoreland News and Northumberland Echo, which had come under the umbrella of Lakeway the year before.
Weddle’s first job with a newspaper began in the mid-1990s when he agreed to work part-time as an ad compositor for the Westmoreland News, while also teaching as an adjunct literature professor at Rappahannock and Thomas Nelson community colleges.
It wasn’t long before he was immersed in journalism and he assumed more responsibilities including becoming sports editor and handling page layout, in addition to advertising design and sales. Eventually, he was named associate editor and it wasn’t long before he became editor of the Northern Neck News.
Weddle has had a front row seat while witnessing the gradual transformation of the newspaper industry as it has struggled to adjust to an increasingly digital age. While there is still a demand for the paper product, many readers have gravitated to getting their news from computers, tablets, smart phones and electronic reading devices.
“Now the print product is only part of what we do. We’re no longer a weekly paper … now, when something happens, you look down at your phone,” Weddle said. “You don’t have to get the newspaper. The newspaper gets you.”
At The CV, Weddle has been at the forefront of the growing trend to get the news out to readers almost instantaneously using the newspaper’s website, Twitter and Facebook, as well as text caster to reach a broader audience.
While many newspapers fear that they will be pushed out of business because of changing reading habits, Weddle isn’t frightened in the least.
“The Central Virginian has been around for more than 100 years and The Central Virginian has never been about ink on paper,” Weddle said. “The CV has always been about providing news to people in Louisa County about Louisa County, and we do that on paper, we do that on your computer, we do that on the phones … the technology has been great for the paper, because it has increased our ability to reach people.”
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 14 edition of The Central Virginian.