Melissa Hanna has been named executive editor of the Aiken Standard and The Star newspapers.

Hanna replaces Tim O’Briant, who has been promoted to general manager of TootSuite, Aiken Communications’ new dedicated digital division.

“Melissa is a conscientious and dedicated journalist who has strong roots in our operation and our community,” said Scott Hunter, publisher of the Aiken Standardand The Star. “She understands our passion for covering local news and will be a strong leader for our news staff.”

As executive editor, Hanna leads the content and staffing efforts for both the Aiken Standard and The Star. The Star is a weekly newspaper based in North Augusta. Both the Aiken Standard and The Star are owned by Aiken Communications.

Hunter said, “Even though we are separating our print and digital operations, Melissa’s efforts will cross into both worlds. Our print news constantly feeds our website, and our print staffers shoot video and tweet news updates.”

Hanna has 16 years of newspaper experience and began her career at the Aiken Standard in 1999, where she served as a reporter, copy editor and copy desk chief. Hanna then left Aiken in 2004 to work at the Athens Banner-Herald in Athens, Ga., serving a seven-year span as the assistant news editor, multimedia director and, ultimately, executive editor before retuning home in 2011 to serve as the multimedia director at the Aiken Standard.

“I have always had a passion for newspapers from every standpoint, whether it be print or web and have served in multiple positions in my career,” Hanna said. “I am quite honored to serve the Aiken community as the executive editor of this newspaper, which has always felt like home to me.”

Hanna can be directly reached by email at or by phone at 644-2364.