Two editors have been promoted at the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Richard Connor, chief executive officer of MaineToday Media Inc., said Friday.

Bill Thompson and Tony Ronzio each has been named editor and publisher of his respective paper, Connor said. Thompson is at the Sentinel and Ronzio is at the Kennebec Journal.

Thompson, 63, of Waterville, had been editor of both papers and Ronzio, 30, of Hallowell, was managing editor at the Kennebec Journal.

In addition to the two papers, MaineToday Media owns The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the weekly Coastal Journal in Bath and related websites.

With the new job titles, Thompson and Ronzio will have responsibilities involving all departments of the newspapers, Connor said. They will also have a more visible public presence and “will serve as the papers’ key executives in dealing with readers, customers and the public.”

“These promotions mirror much of the company’s new structure in Portland,” Connor said. “Both Bill and Tony have proven themselves highly capable executives who will provide leadership at each newspaper and in the communities we serve.

“These are local newspapers and our customers need to know there is one person they can phone or e-mail who is in charge and can resolve problems or concerns on the spot.”

Connor said the promotions are intended to help MaineToday Media better serve the public and “improve communication and accountability internally.” He has wanted to have that model in place since purchasing the papers in June 2009 because it allows each paper to function more independently, yet still as a team.

Thompson began working for MaineToday Media in fall 2009. He previously was editor of daily newspapers in Illinois and New Jersey and also was editor of the Fort Worth Business Press, a weekly business journal in Texas. He was a columnist for The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to expand my role at the Morning Sentinel and to be more involved in the overall process of helping the newspaper improve and grow,” Thompson said. “Since the day I arrived in Waterville, I’ve been amazed by the loyalty of readers and advertisers and the sense of ownership they have toward their local paper. I’ll do my best to make sure the Morning Sentinel continues to earn that loyalty.”

Ronzio was hired as managing editor at the Kennebec Journal in November 2009. Prior to that, he was editorial page editor for the Sun Journal in Lewiston, where he had worked since 2006.

Ronzio said he was “flattered” by the promotion, which enables him to “take the reins” at the Kennebec Journal.

“We have a really good community paper with a lot of good, hard-working people,” Ronzio said. “The Kennebec Journal is Maine’s oldest paper and just having the institution entrusted to me is a great responsibility and I take it very seriously.”

Connor said having an editor and publisher in charge of each paper is a classic newspaper model he thinks works when you have the “right people.” Thompson and Ronzio are talented and work well together, he said.

“You need to start with a solid news product,” Connor said. “I believe at one time there was a model where there was a person called editor and publisher and it made sense if you could have someone who knew news and could learn business.”