Cheryl Dell, named The Sacramento Bee's publisher and president today, says she's optimistic the newspaper can expand its Internet presence and reverse a steep decline in revenue.
"It's a tough time right now, and so it may sound a little odd for me to say I'm thrilled, I'm excited, I'm honored," she said as she introduced herself to Bee employees. "Those things are all true."
Since 2004, Dell has been publisher at The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash.
Dell, 48, was known as Cheryl Ebright when she attended Beyer High School in Modesto and Modesto Junior College. She later graduated from California State University, Sacramento.
She was the Modesto Bee’s advertising director from 1997 to 1999. She served as The Fresno Bee’s vice president of sales and marketing and then as publisher of the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash.
She will replace Janis Heaphy, who announced her retirement today after a 10-year run in which she became The Sacramento Bee's first publisher; until then, the paper's business operations were overseen by a general manager.
In Heaphy's tenure, the paper won two Pulitzer Prizes but lately has struggled because of a weakening economy and the migration of advertisers and subscribers to the Web.
Heaphy, 56, said she's leaving for purely personal reasons: She's getting remarried, is moving to Sun Valley, Idaho, and wants to spend more time with her son before he starts college this fall. She called her retirement "a decision I made from my heart."