MYRTLE BEACH — Mark Webster, a news industry veteran and former vice president at The Sun News, was named president and publisher of the paper on Thursday.
Webster, 54, has held key management and executive roles at Knight Ridder and McClatchy news operations over his 31-year career, including 13 years at The Sun News where he rose to vice president of human resources and operations.
His appointment was announced to staff members Thursday morning and is effective immediately. He replaces P.J. Browning, who left the paper last month.
“This is like coming home for my family. We spent 13 wonderful years in the area and have many fond memories of our time there,” Webster said. “The Sun News plays a vital role in the community for both our readers and advertisers,” he continued. “While the last several years during the recession have been a challenge, we are evolving as a stronger multimedia company. The staff at The Sun News is dedicated, exceptionally talented and more than capable to see us through the transition.”
Webster has been the regional vice president of human resources for three McClatchy newspapers in the Carolinas, including The Sun News, The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina and The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., since 2009. In 2010, Webster was given additional oversight of information technology for all seven of McClatchy’s daily newspapers in the Carolinas.
“Mark is a proven leader with one of the more diverse backgrounds in our industry,” said Pat Talamantes, McClatchy’s president and CEO. “That experience and versatility will serve Mark and The Sun News well given the pace of change in our business and the growing opportunities in a dynamic market such as Myrtle Beach.”
Speaking to the staff Thursday morning, Webster emphasized his optimism for the news industry and his community ties.
“We’ve all been through some tough times in this recession, not just newspapers but all businesses,” he said. “But this team has a great track record of working in creative ways to find solutions, for ourselves and for our clients.”
Webster said he and his wife Carol look forward to reconnecting with the community and enjoying the area’s natural attractions, including its waterways and Huntington Beach State Park. They are also pleased that the move will bring them closer to their four grandchildren.
“We raised our kids here,” he said. “They all graduated from local high schools and our daughter graduated from [Coastal Carolina University]”
Born and raised in Lexington, Ky., Webster began his newspaper career in 1981 with his hometown paper, the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“Mark is committed to McClatchy’s news mission and knows firsthand the important role The Sun News plays in the community,” said Mark Zieman, McClatchy vice president, operations, who oversees McClatchy’s newspapers in the Southeast. “He’ll make a terrific publisher.”