Buzz About ‘The Bee.’ Is it writing its obit?

We all know that newspapers are hurting… The Internet has changed the game and newspapers have been late to evolve.  Case in point: our own hometown paper: The Sacramento Bee.  ‘The Bee’ has enjoyed a monopoly for a very long time and while it sat back and enjoyed the lack of competition in the region, the Internet came along and changed the game.  As a marketer, I don’t believe that the Internet will make print obsolete: however, I do believe print needs to evolve and change to stay in the game.  It needs to be relevant, fresh, and easy-to-read.  So, ‘The Bee’ has recently evolved.  It said it was making “improvements” for its readers when the fact of the matter was it was doing it for its survival.  It has laid off more than 50 percent of its editorial staff.  And although I commend some of the changes (the USA Today-ish front-page), some are more hokey and ‘cowtown-ish’ then ever before.  My biggest issue is with the business section.  As a local business owner who really considers myself a ‘big city’ agency simply based in Sacramento, I was appalled to find the new business section in the local “Our Region” section of the paper.  And worse, the business section actually follows the Obituaries.  Yes, I have to actually thumb through the ‘obits’ to get to the business section.  As a 35 year old business person, I am not yet ‘into’ the obits.  As a resident and business owner in Sacramento, I want nothing more than ‘The Bee’ to succeed, however, with changes such as these, I am afraid ‘cow-town’ is just what this paper is continuing to “Bee.”   

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