10/13 Communications has named a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry as general manager for its Arizona properties, including yourwestvalley.com., the Daily News-Sun, Glendale Today, Peoria Today and Surprise Today.

Steve Pope, who currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer for Huckle Communications in Minnesota, will assume his new role with 10/13 Communications in late April.

Pope said 10/13 Communication’s emphasis on local coverage is the model for successful community journalism.

Though Pope said he plans no wholesale changes to the look and feel of the publications that will be under his charge starting in late April, he said one of his goals will be to make the Arizona properties more digitally rich, taking advantage of growing mobile and digital usage in the media space

“I think you have to understand the market, what the trends are, before you start tweaking,” he explained Wednesday during a meeting with employees to announce his hiring by 10/13 Communications.

“Initial results are showing these papers are doing what the market wants,” Pope told employees.

In his role with Huckle Communications, Pope is responsible for the publication of 10 community newspapers, four shopping guides, 17 websites and regional magazines in the southern Minnesota area.

Over his career, Pope has worked in senior management positions for Gannett, Knight Ridder, Swift Communications, Media News Group and Freedom Communications. Immediately prior to moving to Minnesota, Pope was president and publisher for the Gazette and Mid-West Regional Vice President for Freedom Communications.

Prior to working at Freedom, Pope was general manager for Colorado Mountain News Media and Publisher for the Vail (Colo.) Daily. Before that he served as publisher/general manager for the Observer & Eccentric Newspaper Group in Michigan and vice president for the parent company HomeTown Newspapers.

Pope has also operated his own newspaper and Internet consulting company.

Collectively known as Arizona Local Media, 10/13’s Arizona group is comprised of seven locally oriented newspapers and associated websites; Arizona Interactive Media Group, publishers of Clipper Marketplace and U and Your Home magazines; and numerous targeted websites and niche publications.

In addition to Phoenix and Tucson, the company has properties in the Dallas and Houston, metropolitan areas as well as itzdigital, a company offering a wide range of new media marketing solutions.

10/13 Communications President Randy Miller said the company’s publications fill a distinct niche in their respective suburban communities — one that is not being met by the area’s more traditional media sources with hyper-local reporting and an innovative distribution model.

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