Palatka Daily News has new publisher

The Palatka Daily News has a new publisher.

Veteran media executive and journalist Michael Leonard, 63, comes to Palatka from Community Newspaper Inc.’s Northeast Georgia Region, where he served as regional marketing director for two years. Community Newspapers Inc., an Athens, Ga.-based media company, owns the Palatka Daily News.

“I was excited about this opportunity,” Leonard said after he was introduced to the Daily News’ staff Tuesday afternoon. “I enjoy the relationships of a daily newspaper team and the flow of putting out a product for the community each day. I think it’s extremely important. What we do is reflect the community back upon itself. I believe very strongly a good community newspaper is a community talking to itself.”

Leonard has been a publisher for several Community Newspapers Inc. publications, including the Lake City Reporter and the Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham, N.C. He’s also published weekly papers in North Carolina and Georgia.

“We liked Michael’s breadth of experience in journalism, marketing and business management,” Community Newspapers Inc. Chairman Tom Wood said.

Prior to joining Community Newspapers Inc., Leonard was a television and newspaper reporter in Spartanburg, S.C., and led an advertising and public relations firm. He is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia.

Leonard said upon reaching Palatka and Putnam County, he was impressed by its offerings.

“It is an area that is an outdoorsman’s paradise,” Leonard said. “I’m struck by the variety of businesses, the new startups I see in various locations. That speaks to me of some new business entrepreneurship vitality, which is encouraging.”

Leonard and his wife, Deborah, have been married for 34 years and have four grown children.