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Lee Selects Michael Burns to Lead River Valley Newspaper Group

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Lee Enterprises (NYSE:LEE) , a leading provider of news, information and advertising in 50 markets, has selected Michael Burns as publisher of the River Valley Newspaper Group. Burns, 47, will oversee operations at the La Crosse Tribune, Winona Daily News, The Chippewa Herald and six additional non-daily publications. He is formerly the publisher of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside County, California.

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating officer Kevin Mowbray said Burns is an aggressive and energetic leader with an excellent record of achievement.

“Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Lee,” Mowbray said. “He’s community focused with a strong commitment to local news and local advertisers. He’ll be a great asset to the readers and businesses served by the River Valley group.”

Burns’ career includes seven years with Freedom Communications – most recently as publisher of The Press-Enterprise and chief revenue officer of Freedom News Group. From 2008 to 2012, he was corporate vice president of sales and market development, and president and publisher of The Gazette Media Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Additionally, he has held key leadership positions with The Gannett Company and Tribune Company.

“Lee Enterprises has been a leader in transforming our industry, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the organization,” Burns said. “I look forward to contributing to Lee’s continued success by serving readers with relevant and timely local news and helping advertisers reach the markets they desire.”

Burns is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut University in Willimantic, Connecticut and also holds a Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. He and his wife, Megan, have three children.

He succeeds Rusty Cunningham, who was named editor of the La Crosse Tribune – a position he also held from 1997 to 2001. Cunningham is a 36-year veteran of Lee newspapers and has been publisher of the River Valley Newspaper Group since 2004.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending more time in the newsroom since the editorship of the Tribune became vacant a couple of months ago,” Cunningham said. “It has reinforced that my heart lies with journalism and covering a wonderful community.”


Lee Enterprises is a leading provider of local news and information, and a major platform for advertising, in its markets, with 46 daily newspapers and a joint interest in four others, rapidly growing digital products and nearly 300 specialty publications in 22 states. Lee’s newspapers have circulation of 1.0 million daily and 1.5 million Sunday, reaching more than three million readers in print alone. Lee’s markets include St. Louis, MO; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Davenport, IA; Billings, MT; Bloomington, IL; and Tucson, AZ. Lee Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE. For more information about Lee, please visit

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