Digital Media Culture Has Created Need for New Positions, UMCom Says in Naming Executive Directors

July 08, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. – United Methodist Communications, the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, has filled two executive director positions. Tim Tanton, former director of the agency's media group and current interim executive director of content, has been named executive director of content. Kay Panovec, communications director of the East Ohio (regional) Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, will join the agency as executive director of new media.

"Both Kay and Tim bring to these positions extraordinary professional experience and passion for communications ministry," says the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "Their collaborative talents will empower the agency to advance in the creation and distribution of content that will serve, with greater relevance, the Church and the people we seek to reach."
Hollon says the global shift toward electronic communication, social media, and the demand for relevant content defines the scope of the two positions.
"Our clearer focus on digital media will allow us to serve audiences electronically with a timelier, more relevant flow of content," says Hollon. The General Commission on Communication approved re-configuring the agency to emphasize cross-agency focus on content in its fall (2009) meeting. It also laid the foundation for a strategic plan incorporating new media.
Panovec will oversee these digital distribution efforts, which include the agency's web ministry and special initiatives. Tanton will direct content creation and United Methodist News Service, in addition to Interpreter magazine, the agency's multilingual outreach, and Central Conference Communications Initiative. Both directors will join the general secretary and the executive director of finance and administration in leading the agency's overall communications strategy.
Tanton has nearly three decades' experience as a communicator. He has worked as a local news reporter and as business editor for the Nashville Banner, earning multiple awards from the Tennessee Press Association. Since joining United Methodist Communications as news editor in 1997, Tanton has seen his responsibilities expand greatly to include directing the agency's convergent media: United Methodist News Service, Interpreter magazine, Spanish and Korean-language resource ministries, audio and radio efforts, and an initiative to train and equip communicators in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Among his honors are awards from the Associated Church Press and the United Methodist Association of Communicators for coverage of the Church's work in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa.
Panovec has served since 1997 as communications director for the Church's East Ohio Annual Conference. She launched the Conference's website, edited its magazine, and served as a leader in crisis management, spokesperson development, and Rethink Church advertising and welcoming training. Her outreach to youth included planning and production for the Conference's Youth Jam events. Prior to joining the East Ohio Annual Conference, Panovec served local United Methodist churches as a program director and as a director of Christian education. Her experience at the local and Conference levels gives her insight into the unique communications needs of those bodies.
Tanton and Panovec begin their new roles on July 16 and July 12, respectively.