David Meadows, who became publisher of The Courier in 2008 and later group publisher for other Paxton Media Group properties including the Log Cabin Democrat, died Wednesday night at his home in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Meadows, 58, came to Russellville in June 2008 after he served as publisher of The Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas. He left in December 2019 to become general manager for Central Missouri Newspapers Inc. (CMNI), which is owned by WEHCO Media, a family-owned company based in Little Rock.

Mark Lane, president of the WEHCO Newspaper Division, said Thursday: “Mr. Meadows was an amazing leader who cared deeply for the News Tribune, Fulton Sun, California Democrat and all other businesses associated with the Central Missouri Newspapers Company.

“It was my honor to have the opportunity to work with such a talented professional. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Meadows family.”

News Tribune Managing Editor Gary Castor said Meadows served a variety of roles during his career in newspapers. He had been in production, which allowed him to “talk the talk” with staff in press rooms and mail rooms. However, he also served many years as a publisher/editor and had a clear understanding of news and what it tries to do.

He had more than 30 years experience in newspapers before he arrived in Jefferson City – 16 of which came as a general manager or publisher.

Castor described Meadows as also being an astute businessman whose stops in his career gave him broad perspectives on the industry.

“The man was exceptional. He was a great boss, and frankly, a great friend,” Castor said. “What always struck me was he had a kindness and a gentleness. He would listen well. What I appreciated about him most was, he respected what we are trying to do in the newsroom, and he gave us as much support and encouragement as possible.”

During his time at The Courier, Meadows’ community involvement included the Boys and Girls Club of the Arkansas River Valley, the Salvation Army and the annual River Valley United Way golf tournament.

“David Meadows was my first publisher. He took a chance on me right out of journalism school,” Jeanette Stewart, editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, said. “He taught me a lot during my two years at The Courier. David was a tough publisher, but always fair. He loved the community and the newspaper business. I appreciated his willingness to share the wisdom he acquired through decades of working in newspapers. His death is a blow to the business at large, but especially to the people who were lucky enough to work closely with him. My heart goes out to his family.”

Meadows, a Virginia native, began his newspaper career at Gannett/USA Today in 1984 and spent 10 years with Gannett before joining the Morris Publishing Group in 1994 at the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News.

“I was shocked and saddened to hear about David’s passing,” said David Mosesso, retired president of Paxton Media Group’s Arkansas-Mississippi-Louisiana division and former Courier publisher. “So very tragic and our hearts and prayers go out to his family.

“While it’s been a while since I’ve seen David, I’ll always remember his great attitude and common sense approach to his job. He was one of the good ones that seem to be so rare these days. David did a great job when he worked for me, and I could always count on him showing up and performing at a top level,” Mosesso said.

In 2002, Meadows was named general manager of another Morris newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal in Topeka, Kan. He was promoted to publisher of The Dodge City Daily Globe in 2004.

“David spoiled me for what I look for in a supervisor and friend,” Joshua Mashon, former editor of The Courier, explained. “He took me under his wing and showed me throughout the years how to properly perform in the different roles I undertook in the newsroom during my 14 years at The Courier.

“If ever there was something I wasn’t sure about, I always knew I could walk to his office, knock on the door frame, take a seat in front of his desk and ask away. The answers usually came quickly with the other time I could squeeze out of him for anything else I might feel the need to pick his brain about,” Mashon said.

The Courier is one of several Arkansas papers owned by Paxton Media Group, a family-owned company founded in 1896.

“David was a great boss and wonderful friend,” Michelle Harris, former advertising director for The Courier, said. “That can sometimes be hard to do, but not for David. He was an awesome leader and cared deeply for the community, The Courier and all of its employees. It was sincerely an honor and privilege to work with him.

“I recall so many good memories over the years, but most of all I will remember his sense of humor and kindness towards others. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of his family.”

Judy Manning, current advertising director for The Courier, said Meadows was one of the best leaders she has had the privilege to work with.

“But more than that, he was a truly wonderful person,” she added. “He had a way of genuinely listening to everyone, ensuring you felt how much he cared. I appreciated his sense of humor and the thoughtfulness he brought to the office every day. He was one of a kind and will truly be missed.”

“In the spring of 2013, I was hired by David to be the production manager at The Courier,” David Weaver said. “I had a long resume of print production and pre-press management but no newspaper experience. He said ‘that I can teach you’ and that he did.

“The relationship of employer-employee soon turned to one of mentor-close friend. He assembled a team of managers that would follow his lead wherever that led. He took pride in knowing all of the employees names and about their families and individual situations. That’s just the kind of man he was. He cared.

“He always kept a dish of candy on the side table in his office that would cause employees to veer into his office during the day for a piece of candy and a conversation,” Weaver added. “Most days I would end by walking into his office and sitting down, where we would talk about some current event or something that was happening in our families.

“David Meadows was a man of faith, he loved his family and was a leader. Someone that we all could learn from. We kept in touch every few weeks, but I didn’t know that when he called just a week ago, that it would be the last conversation the we would have. What I would give for a piece of candy and a chat right now. I will miss you, my friend,” Weaver said.

Meadows is survived by his wife, Dianna, and children, Connor and Garrett.