Publisher Brian Burns leaving Ledger Media Group

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Brian Burns, publisher of the Ledger Media Group in Lakeland, Fla., has announced that he will leave that position on July 25.

The Media Group publishes The Ledger, the News Chief and other local publications. Burns, 45, became publisher in January 2017.

Burns said he's leaving to start his own digital technology company for magazines and newspapers in the Tampa Bay area. He is developing a phone app that can capture print images and use them to deliver additional content.

"This was a very difficult decision for me," Burns said after he announced his departure to The Ledger staff. "Each and every Ledger employee is like family to me, and I hope to keep each one of those relationships moving forward."

Colleagues and community leaders expressed their regrets at Burns' departure.

"He's a consummate professional, and we're absolutely going to miss him in the Polk County community," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "In my estimation, he not only balanced but he took The Ledger to another level during turbulent times. It's appreciated not only by law enforcement but by the entire community."

Burns also made an impact on GateHouse Media, the Ledger's parent company, said Patrick Dorsey, regional vice president for GateHouse Florida.

"Brian has been a very strong leader and advocate for the Ledger and the Lakeland community," Dorsey said in an email statement. "He has accomplished a significant amount in the last three years and we are well positioned for success going forward. I am sad to see Brian leave, but happy for him as he has an opportunity to chase one of his many passions in the technology space."

Jim Doughton, the retired publisher of the Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner, also GateHouse newspapers, will serve as interim publisher until Burns' successor is hired, he added.

Read more from The Ledger

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