Fred Paxton, the board chairman of the Paxton Media Group, which owns several newspapers in nine states, died yesterday after battling pancreatic cancer, his family said. He was 73.
Paxton helped guide the family-owned media company, following his father, Edwin J. Paxton Sr., who was a newspaper editor and publisher for 61 years.
Fred Paxton worked as a reporter and editor for the Sun-Democrat, now The Paducah Sun, before turning to broadcast. He became managing director for WPSD-TV in Paducah in 1961 and moderated a famous political debate between governor candidates Ned Breathitt and Louie Nunn.
Eleven years later, Paxton took dual roles as president of the TV station and publisher of the city’s newspaper.
Starting in 1974, Paxton was the president of the media outlets’ parent company, Paducah Newspapers Inc., which became Paxton Media Group. He was named the group’s board chairman in 2000. His three sons took over most of the managing work at that time.
Paxton Media Group has expanded from owning only one newspaper and TV station. It now owns 29 daily newspapers and many weeklies in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan.