Morris Communications Announces "Digital-First" Transformation, Restructuring and Key Leaders

Oct 12, 2011, 18:24 ET from Morris Publishing Group, LLC

AUGUSTA, Ga., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Morris Communications Co. today announced a major restructuring of its newspaper group to implement a wide-ranging "digital-first" transformation.

The changes include senior leadership appointments at Morris Publishing Group and MPG's integration of key pieces of Morris DigitalWorks, MCC's long-time digital support group.

Derek J. May, executive vice president of MPG, announced two senior appointments:

  • Mark E. Lane as Vice President of Sales to head the company's sales activities for both digital and traditional media. Lane most recently served as Vice President of Sales at the company's flagship unit, The Florida Times-Union.

  • Robert R. Gilbert as Vice President of Audience to oversee audience development and content creation across the company's media channels. Gilbert most recently served as Vice President for Audience Development and Partnerships at Morris DigitalWorks.

At the same time, William S. Morris III, chairman, announced that Michael R. Romaner will become Executive Vice President of Digital for Morris Communications Co. Romaner had been president of Morris Digital Works since its origin in 1996. In his new role, he will provide digital strategy and leadership for all of the company's media enterprises, including magazines, books, radio stations, newspapers and visitor publications.

"We are transforming ourselves into a 21st-century media company," Mr. Morris said. "The people and businesses we serve are moving quickly from print to digital, and we are determined to keep leading the way in meeting their needs in all the markets we serve."

William S. Morris IV, president of MPG, praised the appointments saying, "Our newspaper company has a long tradition of digital excellence, and these changes will propel our transformation much more rapidly."

May said, "These two key hires will join hands with the leadership at our business units to drive the changes our readers and advertisers are demanding."

While MPG is absorbing some key personnel from MDW, other employees will move with Romaner into MCC, helping to design strategy and perform other digital functions at the corporate level. The remaining MDW employees will move to NIIT Media Technologies, a new company Morris helped to launch earlier this year to provide IT and business process outsourcing services, where they will continue to support the Morris operations.

Romaner said, "Integrating MDW's skilled personnel into the newspaper group will help to speed its digital transformation from the inside."

About Morris Publishing

Morris Publishing Group, LLC, is a privately held media company based in Augusta, Ga. Morris Publishing currently owns and operates 12 daily newspapers and associated websites and other digital assets, non-daily newspapers, city magazines and free community publications in the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Alaska.

The Company has a concentrated presence in the Southeast, with four signature holdings: The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), The Augusta Chronicle, the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News and the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald.

Morris Publishing Group's other eight daily newspapers are: Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News; Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch; Juneau (Alaska) Empire; Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark.; Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal; Peninsula Clarion, Kenai, Alaska; The St. Augustine (Fla.) Record; The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal.

SOURCE Morris Publishing Group, LLC