Even when The Sacramento Bee published only a newspaper aimed at a broad readership, some readers bought us because they were passionate about one subject and not much else.
Sports, for instance. Or politics.
Nowadays we are creating niche news products aimed at specific audiences. On Tuesday we make our foray into television, with a new show featuring regional high school sports.
In the last few days we’ve beefed up another niche product – the Capitol Alert Insider app for smartphones and tablets – with daily updates of hard-to-find campaign finance data (including independent expenditure contributions) of interest to the many politicians, consultants and special interests tied to the Capitol.
They are very different news products for local audiences that are passionate about each subject. The TV show is sponsored by Save Mart and is advertiser supported, but the app is available through a subscription. The two products say much about the evolution of The Bee, where we are experimenting with different ways to provide news and information through a variety of mediums.
“The Bee Preps Show,” co-hosted by longtime preps reporter Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty of All-City Preps, will fill a vacuum as it will be dedicated solely to high school athletes and their sports, starting Tuesday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California. (Repeat broadcasts will vary with pro sports schedules, but this week will be Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m.)
Our co-hosts first joined forces one year ago, when Davidson joined Finnerty on the SureWest Sports Show that Finnerty created. Their preps expertise and easy rapport made for a fun show for local athletes and families, schools and others involved in the high school sports scene. When SureWest’s contract ended, it made sense for us to take over the show.
Football long has dominated the local preps scene, but Davidson and Finnerty will focus on many sports over the school year. Initially, with this week’s launch, they’ll talk about the season ahead for football, girls volleyball and boys soccer.
“It’s an exciting challenge as there is never a shortage of storylines, be it from the power programs, the middle-of-the-pack ones or those just trying to field teams amid budget cuts and low participation numbers,” Davidson said.
While Davidson has covered local preps for more than 25 years, Finnerty fell into it some 10 years ago because he was a parent and coach who was frustrated with Roseville area preps coverage. As such, he brings a different perspective to his coverage.
“I understand the heat that coaches can take, and I can understand the frustrations that parents experience. I have been on both sides,” Finnerty said.
Davidson and Finnerty’s show will be the only one to focus on teams throughout the California Interscholastic Federation Sac-Joaquin Section. It’s the second-largest section in the state, with 197 schools and 130,000 student athletes, according to the section’s website.
Our Capitol Alert Insider app is designed for those who make their living tied to state politics, or are intensely interested. As such, it’s a separate subscription product from The Bee and sacbee.com, available at the Google Play store for those with Android devices, or the App Store for those with iPhones and iPads.
While it packages some things that are part of The Bee’s political coverage – such as our Capitol Alert and State Worker news blogs, and other news reported by our Capitol Bureau – it also includes data, opinion and information not available to the general reader.
For instance:• The new campaign finance section includes daily updating of all late contributions and independent expenditures, but also pulls out the top 15 contributions by recipients, donors, contests and committees. While we will use the data for coverage in the paper and online, the app will have far more detail.
“This kind of California campaign finance information has never been available for mobile (devices) before,” said Bee reporter and data journalist Jim Miller.• Early access to the embargoed Field Poll is provided, along with the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for the Insider app.
• A database of legislators includes an analytical biography written by Bee journalists along with contact information for each legislator’s chief of staff, legislative director and scheduler.
• The app includes a bill tracker, early access to The Bee’s editorials and opinions and a curated Twitter feed.
Our goal for this app is to provide convenience to those as connected to the Capitol as to their phones or tablets. For insiders (or those who want to be), it packages quick access to valuable information.