Executive biographies

May 1, 2012 

Biographies of key executives at The State Media Company.

Sarah Borton, Publisher & President

Sara Johnson Borton, a South Carolinian since childhood was named president & publisher of The State Media Company in February 2014. Sara is also the president and publisher of two newspapers in the Lowcountry, The (Hilton Head) Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, which like The State in Columbia are owned by the McClatchy Co.

Borton graduated from Winthrop University in Rock Hill and began working in that city part time as a reporter for the Rock Hill Times. She later worked in advertising for the Savannah News-Press and Hilton Head News before joining the The Island Packet in 1983 as a sales representative. She was sales and marketing manager and, later, general manager of the Hilton Head paper before she was named publisher in 1993. In 2001, she was named publisher of The Beaufort Gazette as well.

Email Sara: sborton@islandpacket.com

Mark Lett, VP & Executive Editor

Lett is responsible for the news-gathering operations of The State and thestate.com, including local, state and national news, sports, business, features and photography.

He joined The State in 1998 as executive editor and vice-president. Lett previously was editor of the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana, and was assistant managing editor of The Detroit News. Lett is a former labor writer, auto editor, projects editor, state editor, national editor and city editor of The Detroit News.

Lett also was city editor of The Pittsburgh Press and was deputy city editor of the Detroit Free Press.

A native of Lincoln Park, Michigan, he attended Central Michigan University and is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit.

Email Mark: mlett@thestate.com


Richard Rinehart, Regional Sr. VP of Operations and Strategic Planning

Richard is responsible for regional production operations and facilities for The State, the Rock Hill Herald, the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer (McClatchy Company markets).

His primary location is Raleigh (NC) where he serves as Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Planning at the Raleigh News & Observer. He joined the News & Observer in 2005. Prior to joining the News and Observer he worked at the The Indianapolis Star for 15 years in several production management roles.

Richard earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a board member of the North Carolina Press Association and in 2010 was recognized by Editor and Publisher as an All Star for Senior Management in newspaper operations.

Email Richard: rrinehart@newsobserver.com


Bryan Osborn, VP of Digital

Bryan Osborn was recently named the VP of Digital for The State (Columbia). Osborn will continue as the VP of Digital for The Island Packet (Hilton Head) and The Beaufort Gazette.

Osborn moved to Columbia from Hilton Head where he has been the VP of Digital for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for over three years. Bryan brings over 20 years of advertising experience and knowledge with him.

Bryan will work with advertising on digital revenue initiatives and work with all departments on full digital integration.

Before the Island Packet, Bryan worked in Augusta, GA as the Publisher for the Metro-Spirit-Alternative Weekly. Prior to that he was the Advertising Director at the Times and Democrat in Orangeburg and the Times Herald in Norristown Pa. He had prior service with the Island Packet as their New Business Media Director and Retail Sales Director as well as the Beaufort Gazette as their Advertising Director.

Email Bryan: bosborn@islandpacket.com

Bernie Heller, VP of Advertising

Bernie Heller has close to 25 years of experience working in sales, marketing and advertising. He began his newspaper career in New Jersey at SJ Newspapers and The Star-Ledger in the early 90s before relocating to Dallas in late 2003.

He worked with The Dallas Morning News for close to 4 years overseeing national and major retail sales and working his way up to VP Advertising. After leaving The Dallas Morning News, he joined Tribune Media Net as Director of Regional Sales, working with Tribune Company's media properties including The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsday. From 2009 to mid 2011 he worked in a business/new product development role with a number of interactive organizations including the Dallas-based e-Miles and Virginia-based Bulletin News Network.

Bernie relocated to Columbia in June 2011 to work with The State Media Company as Director of Classified Advertising. In September 2011, he was named VP Advertising.

Email Bernie: bheller@thestate.com


Diane Frea, VP Human Resources

Diane has been employed by Knight Ridder/McClatchy since 1988 in management roles in various departments, including News, Production, Information Systems, Marketing, Circulation and Human Resources.

She is a certified career coach and a board member for the Columbia chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management. Diane has volunteered with the United Way of the Midlands and United Way agencies since 2000. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

Email Diane: dfrea@thestate.com


Gary Ward, Managing Editor for Online

Gary returned to his newsroom roots when he became online editor in April 2007. Prior to that, he served in a number of technology management roles at The State and The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News. He installed and managed publishing systems at The Sun News and joined the information systems department at The State in 1993.

Before becoming a technology manager at The Sun News, he worked in the newsroom as a reporter, copy editor, news editor and metro editor.

He received a BA in Journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a native of northeastern North Carolina.

Email Gary: gward@thestate.com


Warren Bolton, Associate Editor

Warren Bolton is an associate editor and member of The State's editorial board. His primary area of focus is local government.

The Columbia native has been with the paper for more than two decades.

Email Warren: wbolton@thestate.com


Derek Lawson, Information Technology Site Manager

Derek Lawson was appointed Information Technology Site Manager for The State in May, 2008.

Derek previously held positions at The State including IT Manager, Network Manager, as well as serving in other technology-related positions. He joined The State in April, 1997. Previously he served as Network Manager for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

A native of Greenwood, S.C., Derek received a BA from Lander University in 1992. He, his wife Angie Lawson, and son Garrett Lawson reside in Camden, S.C.

Email Derek: dlawson@thestate.com


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