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Sacramento Bee Now Online 24/7, Future Uncertain

Armando Acuna, Public Editor at the Sacramento Bee, writes in part:

With little fanfare, The Bee has embarked on the road to its future – a digital, multi-media, interactive, around-the-clock news universe. Everyone knows the final destination. It’s the place where newspapers aren’t on paper anymore but still provide readers with news and information, and make a profit, too.

No one’s been there, or knows what it looks like, or how long it takes to get there, and maps to it don’t exist. It’s waiting to be invented.

Yet every major newspaper company in America is scrambling down the same path on a quest for long-range survival and relevance. They are driven in part by declining circulation and the prospect of online competitors coming from all directions stealing away readers and advertisers.

Sticking only to the old way of doing things, of printing a lot of one-way information once a day dictated by a rigid publication and delivery schedule that ends on the subscriber’s front porch, begs a slow death, say the experts.

Acuna adds:

And, as crazy as it might sound, that could be a good thing, if newspapers are smart, creative, flexible and feisty enough to take advantage of the new challenges and opportunities.

After all, most newspapers – including The Bee – are dealing from an enviable position of strength. They are highly profitable and dominate their markets, including the Internet, with news staffs far larger than any of their competitors and the reach and expertise to produce unique content available nowhere else.

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