New leader was advertising director of The Bryan-College Station Eagle in Bryan, Texas.
The Hawk Eye has a new general manager and advertising director.
Sean Lewis, whose advertising career in the newspaper industry began in 2006, arrived Monday at The Hawk Eye. Ellis Smith, who became editor and general manager of The Hawk Eye in 2016 after GateHouse acquired the paper, now is the managing editor.
Before accepting the position overseeing The Hawk Eye, Lewis was advertising director of The Bryan-College Station Eagle in Bryan, Texas. Prior to that, Lewis worked in newspaper advertising in New York. An Ohio native, Lewis decided to return to the Midwest. His wife, Diana, and 20-year-old son, Matthew, will join him in Burlington at the end of the month.
Scott Anderson, publisher of The Hawk Eye and Ames Tribune, said what is appealing about Lewis is his strong background in digital advertising as well as his leadership skills.
"He knows how to lead a sales team, and he knows how to change culture and environment," Anderson said. "The Hawk Eye's been going through a lot of changes, and we need to find our identity again."
Addressing Hawk Eye employees Monday in the newsroom, Lewis explained he has a hands-on style and doesn't micromanage. His will focus on advertising and educating clients on the wide array of digital advertising services The Hawk Eye has to offer, such as targeted advertising, tracking consumer behavior through ads, data collection, geo-fencing and more.
While his focus is on advertising, he also has a strong commitment to community journalism.
"That's community with a capital 'C'," Lewis said. "We need to be the voice of our community that we serve."
Lewis acknowledged technology has had an impact on newspapers, explaining people no longer look to newspapers to tell them what is important in the world with the rise of the smart phone and customizable news feeds and notifications. People do, however, still need local news outlets to tell them what's happening in their communities with unbiased reporting.
"They cannot sit in council meetings and all the school board meetings," Lewis said. "(Community journalism) is something I'm passionate about. There are not very many jobs in this world that, if you do it right and you do it with heart, you can positively affect other people's lives. Both you and I happen to have a job like that. It's a gift. What are we going to do with it?"
He spoke to the values for capabilities that come with a digital platform, but did not discount the importance of a physical newspaper, especially when it comes to displaying an article about a loved one's accomplishment with pride.
"I have yet to figure out how to cut that out of an Apple iPhone and put it on the refrigerator," he said.
Lewis plans to get involved with the community and looks forward to meeting southeast Iowa residents.