Newspapers will see leadership changes

November 26, 2019

A series of top-level personnel changes is set to take place at The Coalfield Progress, The Post and The Dickenson Star.

Effective Dec. 1, longtime Advertising Manager Karen Tate will become general manager of the three newspapers. Veteran News Editor Jeff Lester will become interim editor.

Clarissa Williams, chief executive officer of Lewis County Press, said: “I’m happy to promote two hard-working individuals. Having worked with the team in Virginia for nearly four years, beginning with my previous capacity as president and COO of former owner American Hometown Publishing, I’ve seen firsthand the dedication, experience and forethought both Karen and Jeff bring to their new roles. Specifically, Karen impressed me with her ability to multitask, keeping everyone focused on the project at hand and her involvement in the community along with her ability to evolve her thinking to new avenues that will strengthen the newspapers.


Jeff and I share the same convictions for fair and balanced coverage. He is a strong proponent of quality local journalism and is a top-notch journalist, all of which make him the perfect candidate to step up to the plate in this interim role.”

Lester’s longtime friend and colleague Anne Adams, publisher and editor of The Recorder in Monterey and Warm Springs, said: "I've known Jeff for more than 25 years, and he's one of the best veteran newsmen in Virginia. He is experienced and has seen it all. He will be tremendous for your readers — a highly qualified journalist who cares deeply about getting to the truth, and reporting it fairly and accurately. He has more integrity than anyone I know in this industry."

These changes, including elimination of the editor and publisher position, will take place amid continued restructuring decisions by Missouri-based LCP2 LLC, an affiliate of Lewis County Press LLC. The company purchased the newspapers in September.
Also, longtime General Manager Bill Endean will retire at the end of November.

Endean explained that he has contemplated retirement for some time. The changes and new direction set in motion by LCP2 helped convince him that the time to step down has come. Endean is in his 30th year with the newspapers.

Endean said: “Karen Tate is one of the most competent and hard-working women I know. She was the best salesperson I ever hired. She took my position as ad manager when I became general manager and has been a better ad manager than I was. I expect she will be a better general manager than I was as well.”

Watch for a profile of Tate next week.

Current Editor and Publisher Jenay Tate, 62, marked her 40th anniversary this year with the group of newspapers once owned by her family. She and Endean leave together on Nov 29.

Tate said she was stunned when notified of LCP's decision to eliminate her position. But she admitted she had struggled with and objected to some of the new company's direction so, in the end, should not have been entirely surprised.

Williams said: “Being in this field for more than 30 years, you see many folks from entry-level to the most advanced experience. Jenay’s ability to connect the dots and deliver a hard-hitting story as a watchdog journalist are first-rate. I respect her immensely and value the time and commitment both she and her family and Endean have made to the newspapers and community. We wish both Jenay and Bill well in their future endeavors.”

Readers will continue to see Tate’s byline as a contributing writer in the coming weeks as articles currently in the works are published. Also, LCP has welcomed Tate to continue to produce articles and/or columns on a paid freelance basis.

"Jeff and I have been comrades in good journalism at these newspapers for 30 of my 40 years and there is no other whom I would trust as much as I trust him to navigate what is ahead," Tate said. "Jeff needs no introduction to our readers. They know him. He knows them, these newspapers and the communities they serve. He is up to the challenge. Lend your support to Jeff, to Karen and to all remaining members of this little newspaper family."

The newspaper family include Karen Tate, Jeff Lester, Myra Marshall, Kelley Pearson, Terran Young, April Bevins, Genie Hamilton, Donna Lawson, Chris Willis, Jo Hamilton and Savannah Foster Johnson, along with a multitude of freelance writers, drivers and support team for printing, accounting and web support.

Among other changes, Genie Hamilton has been promoted from sales assistant to sales account executive. Karen Tate said: “Genie has an excellent work ethic and is very personable. She’ll be a great addition to our sales team.”
Also, former Post employee Savannah Foster Johnson has rejoined the company as sales assistant. Johnson will be responsible for working with the sales department and assisting with readers and circulation.

Further, the company is searching for a staff writer to take on duties at The Star in Dickenson County. The staff writer is responsible for writing for the newspaper, special sections and photography, general assignments, feature stories, website updates and social media. Page layout experience is a plus.

Further, we are seeking additional freelance contributing writers for a variety of story topics in the communities we serve of Wise and Dickenson counties for The Coalfield Progress, The Post and The Star.
We welcome writers to inquire about our writer's guidelines and send samples of their work to Lester at