Newspaper veteran takes helm of The Sun News advertising, marketing departments in Myrtle Beach

dbryant@thesunnews.comFebruary 23, 2013 

  • Fred Benson JOB | vice president of advertising and marketing at The Sun News AGE | 59 HOMETOWN | Mahwah, N.J. EDUCATION | bachelor’s in communications, Ramapo College of New Jersey; took master’s classes at University of Florida FAMILY | wife of 37 years, Jeannie; three children: Lorien Benson, 32; Heather Malam, 30, Travis Benson, 29

— A newspaper veteran with 40 years experience has taken the helm of The Sun News’ advertising and marketing departments.

Fred Benson, 59, the company’s new vice president of advertising and marketing, plans to grow revenue and work with area businesses to understand their needs and make them successful.

“My job is to make sure folks on the business side of the house generate revenue,” said Benson, who will oversee 36 advertising and marketing employees.

Benson has more than two decades leading advertising staffs at newspapers and most recently was group publisher at Gatehouse Media in South Tier Region New York, where he built new revenue sources and refined digital solution sales. Benson also worked as sales and marketing director and advertising director for Fayetteville Publishing in North Carolina, advertising director for Stars and Stripes in Washington, D.C., and several jobs -- including business development manager -- for The Miami Herald, which has the same parent company as The Sun News.

Benson is a thoughtful leader and understands the value of building a dynamic team, and has the skills that will benefit The Sun News and its customers, said Mark Webster, president and publisher of The Sun News.

“Fred will engage with our customers and work quickly to understand their needs in order to make them successful which in turn will benefit everyone,” Webster said.

A New Jersey native, Benson grew up in the newspaper business, chipping in alongside his father, who had several jobs in the industry including newspaper publisher. A young Benson even helped deliver the daily product to its subscribers.

“He’d drive, and I’d toss,” he said.

He went on to be a stringer during high school covering sports for a cluster of N.J. newspapers. He earned his bachelor’s in communications from Ramapo College of New Jersey and took master’s classes at the University of Florida, where he was an adviser for the newspaper over circulation and advertising.

“I saw newspapers as having a tremendous impact on the local community, both from a journalism standpoint as well as from a business standpoint,” Benson said.

Benson aims to expand revenue here, especially digital revenue. About 18 percent of The Sun News’ advertising comes from digital; Benson wants that to grow to 30 percent by the end of 2013.

“That’s a big step,” he said.

Benson also will oversee the start of a new program in May called Impress Local, which is geared to help small businesses increase their digital presence.

“The opportunity for the advertising team to help grow a customer’s business has never been greater,” Webster said. “Fred and his team will assist in making sure they are delivering the right program to our customers to maximize their advertising investment.”

Benson also plans to join area organizations such as the chambers of commerce and possibly serve as a guest lecturer at a local college teaching marketing. His most popular lecture is titled “Marketing on a shoestring budget.”

Benson has been married for 37 years to Jeannie Benson; the couple has three adult children.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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