Cheryl Dell is retiring after nine years as publisher and president of The Sacramento Bee, and three decades of service to the newspaper industry.
In a March 17 letter to employees, Dell wrote that after a career that started more than 30 years ago as an newspaper advertising sales rep, “Simply put—it’s time.” She wrote that her last day would be April 7.
Dell joined The McClatchy Company in 1997 as advertising director of The Modesto Bee, moving to The Fresno Bee two years later as vice president of sales and marketing.
In 2000, she took her first position as a McClatchy publisher at Tri-City (Wash.) Herald. In December 2004, Dell was named publisher of The News-Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. The Modesto, Calif., native and graduate of California State University, Sacramento, returned to her hometown area in 2008 to take the publisher and president position at The Bee.
In her letter, Dell noted that the paper was progressing in its efforts to emphasize its digital publishing, and to get readers to pay for a digital newspaper. “Last year, our circulation revenue was double what it was nine years ago, and that is with fewer print subscribers,” she wrote, Bee staff writer Dale Kasler reported in an article about her retirement.
She wrote, too, that she was proud of her service on the boards of several Sacramento-area non-profits.
Dell served on the board of the Inland Press Association for several years, and was president of the association for the 2014-15 term.
Replacing Dell as publisher and president is Gary Wortel, publisher of McClatchy’s Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram.
Before being named publisher at Fort Worth in 2007, Wortel was president and publisher of the Myrtle Beach (Fla.) Sun News. During his career he has been vice president of advertising and marketing at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and advertising director of the Nashville Tennessean.
The Bee reported that in addition to serving as its publisher and president, Wortel will oversee the operations of nine other McClatchy papers in California, Washington and Idaho.
The new position was part of a company-wide reorganization McClatchy announced that will see the publishers of its Miami Herald, Kansas City Star and News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., take on operational responsibilities of McClatchy papers in their regions. Individual papers will continue to have their own publishers, McClatchy said.
McClatchy President and CEO Craig Forman said in a statement that having regional publishers “sharpens our ability to move faster on both a local and national level, and underscores our desire to work differently to accelerate the pace of our digital transition.” said President and Chief Executive Craig Forman in a prepared statement.