Keith Ponder has been named Publisher of The Tullahoma News and Vice President Lakeway Publishers, Inc., of Middle Tennessee.
The 29-year publishing veteran takes the helm of the division after leading the Daily Herald in Columbia for five years. Prior to that time, he worked in Iowa, Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky, where he spent 20 years as a publisher at CNHI (Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.) and Stephens Media.
“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to work for Lakeway,” Ponder said during his introduction as vice president. “I’ve known the Fishman family through the Tennessee Press Association and have always admired them.”
After CNHI and Stephens Media, Ponder worked with GateHouse Media in Columbia in 2015 and was there until the merger of Gatehouse and Gannett. He said what drew him to Tullahoma was it reminded him of the small town where he raised his family in Kentucky.
“I’m most proud of the people who have advanced within the organization and the work we did that was recognized as the best in the state,” Ponder said. “That’s pretty cool to hang that on your wall, but it’s a sign you’re serving your community.”
He stated he’s a firm believer of former Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Coach Pat Summitt’s quote that you “win with people.”
“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great people and to help them grow,” Ponder said. “I think that’s my role as a leader in the organization, to be a teacher and a coach.
While he had the opportunity to work in metro journalism, Ponder said he loves community journalism, as it lets him be available to readers.
“I think we have a tremendous opportunity to serve the Tullahoma community,” Ponder said. “I’m here to help the team get better and do better.”
Ponder has been married to his wife, Sharon, for 35 years and has two children, Abby and Mitchell. Abby works in healthcare marketing at Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia, and Mitchell serves as the Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Benton, Kentucky.
In Columbia, Ponder served as President of Columbia Breakfast Rotary, chaired Maury Alliance’s Public Affairs committee and served on the Board of Directors of Leadership Maury and the Chamber Council. Statewide, he has served as a board member of the Tennessee Press Association from 2015 through 2020.
Ponder is replacing Brian Blackley, who left Lakeway to pursue an opportunity with the Tennessee Department of Education.