A Phenix City, Ala., woman was named executive editor of The Sun News Monday, a position that was vacated by Carolyn Callison Murray, who retired in October.
Stephanie Pedersen was a sports copy editor and copy desk chief for the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Ga., during the first four and a half years of her career. She moved to metro editor for 13 months before being named senior editor for digital in July 2013.
“I’m very proud and very excited to be here,” Pedersen said at a meeting announcing her hiring, which is effective May 31. “We’ll be moving over the next couple of months to get my entire family here.”
Pedersen will be moving with her husband Scott and her two young children.
It was the digital experience Mark Webster, publisher of the Grand Strand’s only daily print newspaper, was looking for as the company continues to strengthen its digital platform.
Stephanie is the right person at the right time as we continue to transform our company to deliver compelling content to our readers, to deliver advertising solutions to our advertising clients.
Mark Webster, publisher of The Sun News
“Stephanie is the right person at the right time as we continue to transform our company to deliver compelling content to our readers, to deliver advertising solutions to our advertising clients,” Webster said. “... She’s well known in her background for focusing a newsroom using analytics to understand the daily trends in the market in order to assign stories that resonate with our readers and perform well in our digital landscape, as well as our print product.”
Pedersen works for the Ledger-Enquirer, which is owned by The McClatchy Company, parent of The Sun News. Dawn Bryant, editor and senior reporter, has served the position in the interim.
“Stephanie has a keen appreciation of our digital future while understanding that print is very important to this community,” Webster later said in a prepared statement. “She is passionate about delivering quality journalism and especially breaking news to our readers. Stephanie looks forward to moving here and getting to know the community we serve.”
Pedersen said it was all about finding the right fit for both her and the news organization.
“I am leaving home,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that I was finding the right fit for me and for my family. We’re very excited about moving here and being part of the community and learning all the different ins and outs of [the area.]”
As metro editor in Columbus, Pedersen managed about 10 reporters, the chief photographer and sports editor, according to her resume. She has managed an online team and developed breaking news strategies that has led the newsroom to local unique traffic growth every month for nearly three years, including being No. 2 in the company last year, Pedersen said.
She graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with a bachelor’s in public relations and communications.
Pedersen acknowledged that her career has been short, but her different roles have taught her different things.
I’ve only been in the newspaper business for over eight years, but from what I understand, we don’t want to do things the way we did things 10 years ago. We’re always changing and we’re always trying to improve our digital skills and the way that we’re doing things. And I feel that I have a pretty good understanding on how to help us move in that direction.
“From the sports desk, you learn how to move fast and you have to move fast, especially on high school football night and on college Saturday when you cover four major colleges and universities,” Pedersen said. “With the copy desk, I was really able to learn how to manage people, but also understand how to be a team player at the same time. And then on the metro desk, with the reporters that I’ve had, I’ve learned how to manage veterans and be involved in the newsroom and understand how they’re doing their job, but also how I can help them do their job better...
“We’re always changing and we’re always trying to improve our digital skills and the way that we’re doing things. And I feel that I have a pretty good understanding on how to help us move in that direction.”
Editors of The Sun News
Stephanie Pedersen 2016-
Carolyn Murray 2011-2015
Patricia O’Connor 1999-2010
Sue Deans 1990-1999
Gil Thelen 1987-1990