‘Bee’ Gone: Sacramento Paper Shuts L.A. and S.F. Bureaus

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The Sacramento Bee is closing its bureaus in Los Angeles and San Francisco and offering buyout packages to a handful of editorial employees as it struggles with declining revenue and circulation.

As part of the change, the Bee plans to increase its coverage of local and state government news, the paper said in a story posted on its Web site Wednesday.

“Our real franchise is local,” Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez said.

The bureau closings affect three reporters, two in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles. Each is being offered a job in the Sacramento newsroom.

The paper also has made voluntary buyout offers to less than 3 percent of its roughly 300 editorial employees – about nine staffers.

The paper is increasing the staff of its Capitol bureau and next month will begin offering a subscription-based politics and government Web site, Rodriguez said.

The Bee’s parent, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, grew to the nation’s second-largest newspaper publishing company this year when it purchased Knight Ridder Inc., a transaction that was final in June. McClatchy subsequently sold several papers it had acquired in the purchase.

McClatchy’s revenue fell 4.3 percent last month. The Bee reported a Sept. 30 circulation of 273,609, down 5.5 percent from a year ago.

“It would be disingenuous to say that finances don’t play a role in what’s going on in the news industry,” Rodriguez said.

He added that The Bee is “still a very profitable paper, a very strong, healthy newspaper.”

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