Valerie Bender, vice president of community publications at The Fresno Bee, on Friday was named president and publisher of the Merced Sun-Star. Bender, 58, will assume her post immediately, and will continue to oversee the Community Publications department for McClatchy Newspapers' California publications.
"I am proud and excited to join the team at the Merced Sun-Star, where community news and engagement, both in print and digitally, is continuing to grow," Bender said. "The Sun-Star and its neighboring weeklies in Los Banos, Chowchilla, Atwater and Livingston do a great job of reflecting and serving their communities now. I hope together we can continue to build upon those strengths by serving readers in print and on multiple digital platforms."
Bender came to The Bee in 1996 as the features editor, and later became an assistant managing editor. In 2003, she was named director of community publications and has been in her current position since 2006. In that post, she oversees several operations, including Vida en el Valle, custom publications and community relations.
She met with the Sun-Star staff on Friday. She takes over from Jason Cross, who took a position with the Bay Area News Group earlier this month.
"Your readers need to know that the Merced Sun-Star is here to stay and issues that are important to readers are being tackled," Bender said. "Nothing is more important to me than what I can do here. I'm really looking forward to delving into the community."
The Bee and the Sun-Star are among The McClatchy Company's 30 daily newspapers nationwide.