Sara Johnson Borton named publisher of The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina
Borton will add duties to her current role as president and publisher of McClatchy’s two daily newspapers in the southern part of South Carolina
February 5, 2014 –– The McClatchy Company announced that Sara Johnson Borton, president and publisher of McClatchy’s two daily newspapers in the southern part of South Carolina, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, will assume additional responsibilities as president and publisher of The State in Columbia, S.C.
Borton, 55, replaces Henry Haitz, who resigned Dec. 31. Borton will begin her expanded role Feb. 10. She will continue to make her home on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina’s Lowcountry but will live part-time in Columbia some 150 miles away.
“Sara is a talented and enthusiastic publisher with a great passion for South Carolina,” said Mark Zieman, McClatchy vice president, operations, who oversees McClatchy’s newspapers in the Southeast. “She embraces public service journalism, engages the community and our customers and has been a leader in McClatchy’s digital transformation. Sara is the perfect fit for both Columbia and its leading media company, The State.”
Borton has been publisher of The Island Packet since 1993 and The Beaufort Gazette since 2001. Over her tenure, she contributed to the growth of The Island Packet from a twice-weekly tabloid to a daily newspaper recognized for its high-quality journalism. In 2006, she oversaw the building of a 50,000-square-foot production facility for both papers featuring a state-of-the-art printing press. In 2009, she led the consolidation of newspaper operations at both papers.
Borton has deep roots in South Carolina. She was born in Gainesville, Fla., but moved to South Carolina when she was 9 and has lived in the state ever since.
She earned a communications degree from Winthrop College in Rock Hill and began her newspaper career while a student there working part-time as a reporter for the Rock Hill Times. She joined the paper full time after graduation and later moved into advertising positions with the Savannah (Ga.) News-Press and Hilton Head News. Borton joined The Island Packet in 1983 as a sales representative, became sales and marketing manager and then general manager before being named publisher.
“The connections between the Lowcountry and The State newspaper go back to the late 1800s, when two progressive journalists born in the Lowcountry – brothers N.G. Gonzalez and Ambrose E. Gonzalez – founded The State newspaper. They crusaded for various reforms and their work brought about profound change for the good of South Carolina,” Borton said.
“I’ll continue to support energetic and fair news coverage – the kind that has distinguished The State, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette over the years,” she said. “At the same time, our newspapers will seek to be good corporate citizens in each of the communities we serve.”
Borton, a mother of four, lives with her husband, Brett, a communications professor at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.