Save the Bee

Sacramento’s daily newspaper needs our support

Since the shooting of Stephon Clark, I have read the Sacramento Bee every day with increasing admiration. I believe the Bee has played a crucial role in helping this community navigate an impossibly difficult situation.

The newspaper’s immediate coverage conveyed the seriousness of the event without exploiting it. A story about Clark’s family the following day was sensitive, smart and did not contain a whiff of pandering. When the police videos sparked impassioned protest, the Bee struck the right note, and coverage of the protests since has been impeccable.

Its response to breaking news has been consistently clear-eyed. Ambitious enterprise pieces have provided context. I wish I had space here to commend by name all of the reporters, photographers and editors who have contributed to this powerful body of work.

As of this writing, I am very hopeful that all of these people still have jobs. We got word this morning of a “massive” layoff at the Bee. I called Ed Fletcher, longtime Bee reporter and labor representative, who confirmed that the newsroom had been stripped of 14 positions—including his own. “This will be the end of my 18-year run,” he said.

Fletcher and most local news-watchers knew something like this was coming, but nobody suspected it would be this bad. The Bee’s newsroom has already been decimated in recent months.

“It’s going to be a serious blow to the news operation at the Bee,” Fletcher said.

“This should be a wake-up call to people who think they can get their news for free because it’s on Facebook. News isn’t free.”

Spend some time on—they’ve made it easy to find the Stephon Clark coverage. While you’re there, check out Marjie Lundstrom’s investigative report about the victims of sexual harassment in the Capitol, which ran Sunday and Monday. This is first-rate work that deserves your support.

You will also find this note to readers: “Our mission is to encourage engagement, to empower you with the information that can help you make a difference. We believe in our communities. And that when we’re doing it right, we’re working to strengthen these places.”

This is, of course, followed by an invitation to support local journalism by subscribing. Please do.