Bill Masterson Jr., publisher of The Times Media Co. of Northwest Indiana and a group publisher for Lee Enterprises, Inc., has been promoted to vice president of publishing.

In his new role, he will continue as publisher in Northwest Indiana and will join three other publishing vice presidents who oversee Lee’s print and digital operations in more than 50 markets across 23 states. He succeeds Michael R. Gulledge, who has taken leadership of Lee’s companywide sales and marketing initiatives.

“Bill exudes enthusiasm, energy and innovation, and he leads convincingly by example,” said Mary Junck, Lee chairman and chief executive officer. “He embodies our company’s core values of advancing strong local news coverage, delivering indispensable value for customers and providing meaningful community leadership. Also, publishers throughout our company have benefited from sales and audience programs he and his teams have developed.”

Masterson joined Lee in 2000 as publisher of the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. He advanced to publisher in Northwest Indiana in 2006 and became a group publisher in 2011, also overseeing Lee operations in Kentucky, South Carolina and South Dakota.

Among his comments: “I am extremely excited to assume these additional duties that allow me to continue to live in Northwest Indiana while playing a larger role in the direction we take our company during these exciting and innovative times.”

He has held the title of publisher for nearly 25 years, first named to that position at age 27 as publisher of the Black Hills Pioneer in Spearfish, S.D. He began his newspaper career as a carrier for the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, where in 1976 he was selected as Parade magazine’s Young Columbus Carrier of the Year and was awarded the key to the city of Lawton, Okla.

During his time as publisher of the Rapid City Journal, the newspaper received a Lee President’s Award for news coverage, and in 2004 he was individually honored with a Lee President’s Award for Innovation for his efforts to sell political advertising. Among many community and industry activities in Rapid City, he served on the board of directors for the South Dakota Newspaper Association for seven years and was president in 2002.