Tampa Media Group, owner of The Tampa Tribune, after a national search has announced Brian Burns will lead the newspaper’s advertising and news operations as publisher.
Burns previously was the Tribune’s vice president of sales. The longtime media and advertising executive now will oversee the Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune, TBO.com, Centro and other properties.
In addition to his advertising experience, Burns holds several wireless and technology patents and has built media and advertising apps for publications around the country.
“I am excited to be part of an organization and market that has such opportunity in growth and longevity,” Burns said. “I am proud to help lead a diverse team of professionals who have a vision and passion for The Tampa Tribune and the media industry.”
Burns, 40, worked as a vice president at the digital advertising systems firm Adiant.com, was vice president of digital initiatives at the North Jersey Media Group and held sales and marketing positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I am looking forward to introducing new technologies for the newspaper and for the marketplace,” Burns said. “Digital initiatives mixed with our strong print presence will allow us to work today with an eye on tomorrow.”
Burns takes over the publisher’s job after the departure of Bill Barker, who is now the publisher of the Naples Daily News.
Since moving to Florida in early 2013, Burns has become a member of several business chambers in the region and recently joined the board of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
He lives in Land O’ Lakes, is married and has three children.
At the Tribune, Burns helped lead the paper’s digital efforts and helped launch the “TBO Seen” online brand, which focuses on younger demographics. One key role for Burns will be to oversee the Tribune’s continued expansion in Pinellas County, which includes several reporters and editors now working in a downtown bureau for The St. Petersburg Tribune.
“Dedication to our readers, advertisers and employees is the priority,” Burns said.
The new publisher brings “a passion for journalism and a boundless energy for building the Tribune brand,” said Jeff Gray, chief operating officer of Tampa Media Group, which owns the Tribune. “We hired Brian as our VP of advertising in November 2013. Based on his immediate impact and impressive business acumen, we began grooming him for the publisher position. While many people across the country wanted this position, Brian earned it and set about growing this company prior to having the title.”