Publisher's holiday message

By Cheryl Dell, Publisher and President, The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee Publisher and President Cheryl Dell
Sacramento Bee Publisher and President Cheryl Dell

Holiday letters are a wonderful way to reconnect with friends and neighbors; they afford the opportunity to step back – and smile – and remind us of connections near and far.

We know that you put us in that camp – more today than ever before. More than 1 million people in our four-county region read us regularly. Many people read us on their smart phones, their tablets and their desktops. But readership of the printed edition remains strong.

I’m often asked how long print will be around. In case you are one of the people who worry about that, let me reassure you with a number that was recently audited by external sources: 818,683 people read The Sacramento Bee in print during the last seven days – so many it would take 46 new basketball arenas to hold them all.

That is a level of news consumers that others would love to have. In fact, it is a level of consumption that any business in our region would be proud of. More than 800,000 people. Every week. Reading The Bee in print. That doesn’t include the large numbers of people who read us only online, nor does it count people who read us from outside of the four-county area.

How was 2014 for those of us at The Bee? It was a year of change. We’ve changed because you are changing. We redesigned our website, improved our smart phone and tablet apps and introduced new sections in our printed newspaper. Our reporting often contains video and refers to databases that allow you to review the facts yourself. We distribute e-mail alerts and push notifications throughout the day. We launched The Bee Preps Show, a 30 minute cable show that focuses on high school sports.

We introduced dozens of new marketing options to our advertisers that weren’t available a year ago and we helped bring new events to the area, tapping into your desire to spend more time with friends and family.

We received many industry awards and they were more prestigious and more numerous than past years. Most of the awards came for our work in investigations and in photography, two areas that readers appreciate as well. While we are proud of our accomplishments, we are prouder still that you continue to place us as the No. 1 medium in the market.

A lot of our work was behind the scenes. We installed a new advertising billing system, successfully passed numerous audits, regularly ranked among the best in our industry, and hired 62 new employees.

And, we remained committed to ongoing training, investing more than 6,000 hours in staff development this year.

There is a saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. For us, it is a little different – things continue to change so that our important work can remain the same that it has for the last 157 years.

We investigate and report meaningful stories, we hold the powerful accountable, we connect advertisers to readers and wegive generously to the less fortunate in our community.

You expect that from us and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

On behalf of the hundreds of the employees at The Sacramento Bee, I hope you have a safe and meaningful holiday season.

We appreciate being a part of your lives.