Peyton Leaves Observer

Jeff Peyton, the publisher of The Observer for the past three years, has announced his resignation as of last Friday. In an e-mail, Peyton writes: “A new management [team] will be taking the local reins for Main Street Media Company as I depart to pursue other publishing ventures. I wish the Observers continued success under the new team.” There is no word as to what the cause of this is, or any further details as to the future of the weekly publication. Keep reading for the full text of Peyton’s e-mail.

Friends and colleagues:

As some of you may already know, my last day as publisher of The Observer and The Shenandoah Valley Observer was Friday, Nov. 15. Please send all correspondence to me at [redacted] from now on.

It’s been a great three years, and I am proud of what these newspapers have become. I was blessed with a terrific team of journalism professionals, and the Charlottesville and Valley communities are the beneficiaries of their fine work.

The Observer earned tremendous professional praise this year. With more than a dozen awards from the Virginia Press Association this year alone, The Observer became one of the most-honored weekly newspapers in Virginia.

A new management teak will be taking the local reins for Main Street Media Company as I depart to pursue other publishing ventures. I wish the Observers continued success under the new team.


Jeff Peyton

12 thoughts on “Peyton Leaves Observer”

  1. On Friday, sales reps for the Observer were out on the mall soliciting advertising from businesses with an assurance that the Observer was under new management and would be far less "right wing" in future.

    Sounds like there might be some gossip as juicy as the Hawes Spencer saga…

  2. It would be satisfying to know that Peyton chose to leave because he found his brand of far-right conservatism doesn’t sell well in Charlottesville. I used to love The Observer, but when he took over I could barely get through an issue without either laughing or seething over his self-important stance, amateurish journalism, and hit-you-over-the-head biases. What a far cry from Kay Peaslee’s original intentions. I’m not sure how much difference a new management team will make, but I surely won’t miss Peyton’s editorials.

  3. I stopped reading the Observer a couple of years ago, not because of the publisher’s political/religious views, but because it just wasn’t very interesting to read. I hope it does better in its new incarnation!

  4. Good riddance to bad rubbish is all I can say. Under Peyton’s immature, petulant, ego-driven "leadership", the Observer became the joke of newspapers throughout the region.

    Peyton believed that he could buy credibility and voice by pouring his own and Christian Coalition dollars into a mindless rag. He ignored the facts and continually pounded out his own racist, anti-female and homophobic version of Pat Robertson’s and David Koresh’s manifestos. His editorials demonstrated he was nothing more that an elitist, self-important brat with delusions of intellect that were as shallow as his own pathetic high-school journalism skills.

    Hopefully the "new management" team won’t be just a facade for Peyton the way he was for his right wing Christian Coalition buddies. And, more hopefully, his new "publishing ventures" will be something more suited to his personality and abilities – such as walking the streets of Charlottesville in a tattered robe swigging from a brown paper bag while carrying a sign that says "Repent – the End Is Near!"


  5. What I want to know is, if Peyton’s Observer was funded by the Christian Coalition, where’s the money coming from for this “new” Observer? I picked up a copy just last week for the first time in years and it looks like an expensive little thing to publish, with several separate sections and color on every page — and very little advertising compared with the other free weekly papers. Unless there’s a new and different funding source, somebody with lots of cash to burn has purchased the paper, it’s going to be the same thing with a different “honcho”.

  6. Amen. Leaving aside editorials that were out of step with most of Charlottesville (though maybe not most of Albemarle), a big reason for the Observer’s current sad state is that the news coverage just sucks, and has for a long time. Since a little while before Peyton took over, really — though he managed to make it even worse.

    My personal, biased theory is that they lost a couple of good reporters (Reed Williams and Claudia Pinto) to the Progress and then never recovered. Charlottesville’s political scene, as we all know, is insular, and the Observer’s news desk became the worst things you can be in that kind of environment: irrelevant and uninformed. Nobody I knew at any of the other local media outlets read them (expept for laughs over the Amigo’s $3.50 lunch), and as far as I could tell, neither did the people they were writing about. And their reporters and editors, while sometimes nice people, just didn’t seem very committed or even very well-versed in the issues.

    Here’s where the editorial position comes into the equation, though: Not only was the writing itself painfully, excruciatingly, numbingly bad, but it was deployed on stories that were tone-deaf at best and propagandistic at best. When last I read the paper — admittedly a few months ago — there was for all practical purposes no difference between news and editorial content.

    The paper was good once, though, I hear — though that was before my time in Charlottesville. I’m sure it can get better again if the new publisher gets some sharp, energetic young talent and commits to staying on top of the news instead of pumping out the usual feel-good crap. We’ll see.

  7. I too did not like the reflexive bent by the Observer to all political issues. I ignored the editorial page.

    However, it at least tried to cover Greene County and not just assume that everyone outside of Albemarle is a yokel.

  8. My god you are a cocksucker, I love the Observer. They know how to report the news of the land. You are idiot!

  9. Oh, I get it. You’re one of my friends being dumb just to ***** with me. Well, congratulations. You had me fooled. The joke’s on me! Send me an email, tell me who you really are, and knock the silliness off right now. I’ve got work to do (in *grad school*. Ooooooh.)

  10. I’m not sure what’s more amusing: the amount of server space wasted on a discussion of an appallingly low-rent publication like The Ob server, or the fact that some child who calls himself jizzmaster can’t get along with another child who called him a cocksucker. These aren’t mutually exclusive terms, you Nancy boys.

  11. The beauty of the Worldwide Web is you don’t have to choose which is more amusing! Enjoy it all! But listen (and this is a pretty serious correction): *I* called *him* (?) a cocksucker.

    Anyway, that’s all for now, bitchez — Der Furher is trying to keep me from posting anymore, and I’m inclined to take the hint. It’s nice, in a way, to be part of the elite “banned from cvillenews” club. I just hope you all get by OK without all the penetrating analysis.

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