We know you value in-depth local reporting in Sacramento, that’s why you’ve always supported our work at The Sacramento Bee. Today, you’re standing with us while we risk our health and safety to report on a pandemic, wildfires and an economic downturn.
We have alarming news. Executives at McClatchy, which owns The Sacramento Bee, are trying to tie journalists’ pay to the number of clicks our stories get.
Clicks don’t reflect the value of a story to our readers or our community. Focusing on clicks means an increasing focus on controversy and attention-getting headlines, not the hard-hitting, reliable and thoughtful journalism that serves the community.
We’re fighting back, but we need your help. Please sign our petition.
McClatchy has proposed a system to make pageviews and other metrics a major portion of reporters’ performance reviews and raises at all 30 of its publications.
To try to force through this major change, McClatchy executives are withholding our raises from last year.
Most competitors in our industry don’t factor clicks into journalists’ pay. Organizations like the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, Politico Pro, CalMatters, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Virginian-Pilot, the Arizona Republic, the Orlando Sentinel and many others recognize good journalism without pay-for-clicks. McClatchy should too.
We know good journalism takes time and diligence and the results of that time and diligence can be seen in the coverage you count on:
- Reporters Molly Sullivan and Ryan Sabalow worked for months to uncover a culture of hazing, binge-drinking and sexual misconduct at the UC Davis marching band, leading the university to suspend the program. The story won a state award for public service journalism.
- Reporter Marjie Lundstrom spent months tracking down how $25 million in taxpayer money was being used to settle sexual harassment lawsuits in California state government. Her 2018 story led to reforms, and the state launched a government-wide tracker of harassment and discrimination.
- Reporters Philip Reese and Cynthia Hubert revealed a Nevada hospital had shipped about 1,500 mentally ill patients to states around the country. The state launched a review of treatment protocols, and the project was a finalist for a Pulitzer prize.
Local journalism is more important than ever. We recognize our company is going through tough times, and we are not asking for any raises this year.
We’ve expressed our concerns to executives at The Bee, including new McClatchy CEO Tony Hunter. They haven’t budged.
That’s why we’re coming to you. Your recent round of giving helped stave off newsroom furloughs and layoffs. We’re confident you’ll support us in this effort to protect our journalistic values.
Please sign our petition demanding executives at The Sacramento Bee judge reporters’ work on quality and stay focused on subscribers, not clicks.
Thanks for your support and for reading our work,
The Sacramento Bee Guild, a unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild.