Cheryl Dell '82 (Communication Studies)

Dell proud to guide hometown paper

Read the accompanying Made at Sac State interview published by Sacramento State's Office of Public Affairs.

Cheryl Dell
Cheryl Dell knows newspapers create connections and deeply impact their communities. It’s one reason she feels so privileged to lead the The Sacramento Bee in a community that has always been close to her heart.

“It’s really wonderful to be in a position where you understand an area, you love the community and you lead an organization that is so important to the community’s history,” says Dell, the president and publisher of the Bee since 2008.

Dell didn’t have a clear career path after graduating from Sac State in 1982. She was working at a direct-mail publication near her hometown of Modesto when she caught the attention of late Contra Costa Times publisher Dean Lesher.

“He walked into my office one day and said, ‘Young lady, you belong in newspapers,’” Dell says. “He saw something in me that he wanted as part of his newspaper operation. It was a wonderful boss-mentor relationship.”

She started as an ad sales manager and steadily worked her way into newspaper management. Prior to her position at The Bee, Dell was president and publisher at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. from 2004-2006 and publisher at the Tri-City Herald, also in Washington. Dell began working for The McClatchy Company—the company that owns The Bee—in 1997 as advertising director at The Modesto Bee.

Dell appreciates her years at Sac State because of the opportunities her education provided.

“I was a full-time student and I worked full time and graduated debt free. It gave me an opportunity to start with a number of choices in front of me,” Dell says. “I had some courses and classes that really helped shape my curiosity about the world that I lived in. You learn a little bit and you want to learn more and Sac State was a perfect environment to foster that.”

Dell lives in Sacramento with her husband Brad ’85 (Communication Studies), and their two terriers Brindie and Langley.

She serves as secretary of the executive committee of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, and on the board of directors of Valley Vision, a group dedicated to securing the social, environmental and economic health of the region. Dell is a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Sacramento, a member of the Rotary Club of Sacramento and is on the executive committee and the board for the Inland Press Association.

Her efforts for a variety non-profit organizations reinforce the values she has promoted throughout her career in the newspaper business.

“I knew I wanted to work for a company in a job where I could make a difference for the community I lived in,” she says. “Newspapers have the ability to make the places we live better. It really does align with the goals that I had coming up.”