Bonita Burton — executive editor of the Villages Daily Sun and a VP in Villages Media Management — sent this memo to her staff Wednesday:

I’m delighted to announce that master storyteller Tom Burton will be joining us as Associate Editor on March 10.


Tom and I worked together in Orlando for 8 years, where he consistently defined the gold standard for media leaders of the 21st century.

His values are equal parts mad scientist (wildly creative and experimental), human cannonball (ambitious and relentlessly optimistic) and bear tamer (fearless and incredibly agile).

And he possesses a long history of directing journalistic excellence and change management with ethics and integrity.

Most recently, Tom has overseen the Orlando Sentinel’s photo/video group — directing coverage of major news events such as Super Bowls, the Casey Anthony trial and end of the shuttle program. He’s no stranger to television partnerships and has pioneered the use of interactive panoramas in the popular Florida360 blog.

Previously, Tom traveled the globe as a writer and photojournalist covering the Aristide coupe in Haiti, leftist rebels in Columbia, medical missions in Venezuela and Armenia, the end of the Bosnian war in Croatia, the Noriega regime in Panama, and earthquake aftermaths in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Tom is a native Floridian and graduate of the University of Florida. He’s served on the advisory council for 13 years, mentoring both educators and students in inventing the career paths of the future.

He and his wife, Susan, a program coordinator at Full Sail University, are parents to three grown children. They’re a family of cinema and soccer fans, and just super nice people.

You’ll find that Tom is deeply invested in his staff’s development at the individual level. Just about everything he touches turns to gold, especially the people under his direction. I can’t wait to see how his leadership will rocket fuel the wonderful momentum we’ve built in our newsroom.

Please join me in welcoming Tom to our team!

Find Tom’s Blog here and his Twitter feed here.

What are “the Villages”? When Bo moved there a little more than a year ago, she described it to us this way:

The Villages, located about an hour north of Orlando, is the fastest growing small town in America (Forbes, 1/23/12). The Villages Daily Sun is the fastest growing print circulation newspaper in America — its peak print circulation topped 55,000 this year [2012], and they expect it to exceed 80,000 within five years.

Last summer, she hired Bill Bootz away from the Oklahoman to be deputy managing editor for design.