How The Bee's newsroom works
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about The Fresno Bee's news and editorial practices. Have a question that isn't answered here? E-mail Betsy Lumbye, executive editor of The Bee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is the difference between news and opinion articles?
- Who writes the news articles in The Bee?
- Who writes opinion articles in The Bee?
- I've written a story. Will you run it in The Bee?
- What point of view does The Bee take in writing news stories?
- What point of view does The Bee take in writing editorials?
- What point of view does The Bee take in choosing letters and opinion articles?
- Does The Bee favor some high school teams over others?
- Does The Bee hate/favor Fresno State?
- Do advertisers influence news coverage?
- Do politicians and other powerful interests influence news coverage?
- Why do I see mistakes in The Bee?
- Does The Bee exaggerate stories to sell more papers?
- Why doesn't The Bee publish all the names of people who are arrested?
- Why doesn't The Bee publish more stories about important world and national issues?
- Why doesn't The Bee publish more stories about my town, neighborhood or school?
- How does The Bee choose which letters to print?
- How does The Bee moderate comments that readers post on stories online?
- Who writes the headlines?
- Who chooses which stories appear on the front page and how they are displayed?
- Who chooses where stories appear on fresnobee.com?
- How are photographs chosen?
- How should I suggest a story?
- How should I submit a letter to the editor or opinion article?
- How should I report a factual error in the paper?
- How should I complain about unfairness or bias in the paper?
- How should I report problems with fresnobee.com?
- How should I complain about delivery problems?
News stories focus on facts, and seek to present all sides of an issue. Opinion articles, which mostly run in the opinion pages at the back of the Nation & World section, focus on the writer's beliefs and interpretations. The Bee's news and opinion pages are run separately, to prevent conflicts of interest. Executive Editor Betsy Lumbye oversees the news department. Editorial Page Editor Jim Boren oversees the opinion department. Both report to Publisher and President Will Fleet.Who writes the news articles in The Bee?
Local news stories are reported, written and edited by The Fresno Bee's news staff. These include reports on crime, schools and government that usually appear in the main news section of the print edition or in the local section of fresnobee.com. These also include many of the stories that appear in The Bee's Business, Sports and Life sections in print and online.
Stories written by Bee reporters are identified with "The Fresno Bee" under the writer's name, or byline, at the top of each story.
The Bee also publishes stories about state, national and world news, including sports and features stories, produced or distributed by news (or "wire") services. These stories come from news organizations such as The Associated Press, the New York Times and The Bee's corporate parent, The McClatchy Co. Editors in Fresno often shorten, rearrange or insert locally-written material into these stories.
The source of each wire story is noted under the writer's byline.Who writes opinion articles in The Bee?
The Bee publishes four kinds of opinion articles:
- News and feature columns appear in the news pages, even though they often contain some opinion. They are written by select Bee staff members to provide interpretive reporting on local issues. In the print edition, these columns are designed differently than news stories to show that they contain opinion: the presentation includes an image of the writer's face and a special typographical treatment. Two Bee staff members are columnists full-time: Bill McEwen, who writes about local and state issues, and Matt James, who appears in the Sports section. Some other Bee journalists, including Mike Osegueda, Donald Munro, Rick Bentley, Joan Obra, Ron Orozco and Paula Lloyd, write both news stories and columns.
- Editorials appear on The Bee's opinion pages at the back of the Nation & World section. They have no byline, because they represent the views of The Bee's editorial board. Members of the editorial board include the newspaper's publisher and the editorial-page editors, but no one from the news department. The names of editorial board members are listed daily at the bottom of the editorial page.
- Other essays also appear on The Bee's opinion pages, but are generally not written by Bee staff members. Most are syndicated columnists writing with various perspectives on national or international issues. The Bee also publishes 650-word opinion articles by community members every Saturday on a page called Valley Voices. Finally, The Bee's editorial-page editor, Jim Boren, also writes a column that appears regularly in the opinion pages.
- Letters are written by Bee readers and selected by the editorial-page staff. The sports section also occasionally runs reader letters.
The Bee uses only staff and wire reports in its news pages. In rare cases, The Bee also pays outside journalists to provide freelance stories. Readers are encouraged to submit letters and opinion pieces to the editorial pages, however. The sports section also accepts letters. See Whom to contact section below for details.
BIAS & INFLUENCE
Bee reporters pursue news stories that they and their editors believe will be of general interest to readers. Their goal is to present all the relevant facts and points of view in a neutral, balanced account.What point of view does The Bee take in writing editorials?
Members of The Bee's editorial board take positions based on what they believe is best for the community. The editorial board is independent of the news department and plays no role in deciding how the news will be covered. For the same reason, the news department plays no role in deciding the topic or position taken in editorials.What point of view does The Bee take in choosing letters and opinion articles?
The Bee's editorial-page staff chooses letters and opinion articles that reflect a range of opinions on local, state, national and international topics. Every effort is made to represent different points of view, including those contrary to that of the editorial board.Does The Bee favor some high school teams over others?
Some schools may get more attention than others, depending on reader interest, team performance and other factors. But The Bee's sports staff has no interest in favoring one over another only in reporting the news and telling stories that will interest readers.Does The Bee hate/favor Fresno State?
As perhaps the most important single institution in The Bee's coverage area, Fresno State merits considerable coverage in all sections of the newspaper. Like any big institution, the university has both problems and achievements worthy of coverage, and The Bee strives to report both in a balanced way. Despite its powerful role in the Valley, Fresno State has no special "clout" at The Bee and does not receive preferential treatment.Do advertisers influence news coverage?
The Bee, like all reputable news organizations, strictly separates news and advertising operations. The two departments have little contact with each other and neither influences decisions made by the other.Do politicians and other powerful interests influence news coverage?
The Bee's newsroom has no other goal than to inform the communities it serves. Staff members follow a strict conflict-of-interest policy that requires them to refuse gifts of any significant value and prohibits financial or personal relationships that could compromise their coverage.
ACCURACY & COMPLETENESS
Reporters generally have limited time to research and write articles while the subjects are still "news." This means they occasionally miss or misstate important information. The Bee strives every day to keep these mistakes to a minimum, while also moving quickly enough to keep readers informed as the news occurs. Factual errors are acknowledged with corrections published every day on page A2 and with articles online. Omissions of important information are usually remedied with follow-up articles.Does The Bee exaggerate stories to sell more papers?
No. But editors and reporters do look for stories that readers will find compelling. And while Bee journalists are not permitted to distort a story to make it more appealing, they are encouraged to focus on the most interesting "angle," or aspect of the story, in order to engage as many readers as possible. Newspapers, unlike textbooks or government reports, must be lively if they are to succeed.Why doesn't The Bee publish all the names of people who are arrested?
As a matter of fairness to those accused of a crime, The Bee's policy is to report the names of those arrested only if follow-up coverage is planned. This is because many people are released or acquitted after being arrested, and it is impractical to follow up every crime report.Why doesn't The Bee publish more stories about important world and national issues?
Readers have many sources of national and world news on TV and the Internet. For this reason, The Bee focuses its efforts on providing complete and comprehensive local news coverage, and devotes most of its space in the print edition accordingly.Why doesn't The Bee publish more stories about my town, neighborhood or school?
News-gathering is expensive, and The Bee must focus its resources on stories that have the broadest interest. Readers are encouraged to contact editors with story ideas, however. E-mail email@example.com or call (559) 441-6330.
Editorial-page staff members choose letters with the goal of presenting diverse, articulate opinions and fresh voices. Letter-writers are limited to 200 words per letter and one letter per month and must provide a name and phone number so that Bee staff may verify who wrote the letter. Letters that meet the guidelines have a good chance of being published.How does The Bee moderate comments that readers post on stories online?
Newsroom staff members monitor online comments and, on rare occasions, block those that violate fresnobee.com's terms of service. The Bee never modifies reader comments to remove objectionable wording. Guidelines for comments are posted at the bottom of every story.Who writes the headlines?
Reporters do not write headlines that appear above their stories. Editors who prepare pages for the print edition and maintain The Bee's Web site are responsible for headlines, as well as captions on photographs.Who chooses which stories appear on the front page and how they are displayed?
Senior editors choose stories for the front page and decide placement based on news value, reader appeal, visual elements and other considerations. The lineup often continues to change throughout the evening, depending on events. The public is invited to participate in the front-page meeting any weekday at 2:30 p.m. Contact Toni Wooten at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6445 to reserve a place.Who chooses where stories appear on fresnobee.com?
Editors maintain content areas of fresnobee.com, including the home page. Breaking stories and those that are popular are most likely to appear at the top of the home page.How are photographs chosen?
Editors choose photos based on how compelling the images are and how well they illustrate a story. They have no interest in picking photos that make public figures look good or bad, but do seek to use pictures that match the tone of the news. For example, a photo of the mayor smiling would be inappropriate with a story about a budget deficit.
Bee staff photographers take most photos (and videos that appear online) for local stories. The Bee also uses photos provided by wire services for state, national and international stories.
WHOM TO CONTACT
E-mail story ideas and press releases to the appropriate section:
Letters (200-word limit, no attachments) go to email@example.com or by mail to
Letters to the editor
The Fresno Bee
P.O. Box 12504
Fresno CA 93788-2504
Proposed opinion articles should go to Editorial Page Editor Jim Boren at firstname.lastname@example.org.How should I report a factual error in the paper?
Contact the editor of the section concerned:
Local news: Metro Editor Robert Zizzo at email@example.com or (559) 441-6330.
Nation & World news: Asst. Managing Editor Kris Eldred at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6463.
Sports: Sports Editor Matt Lloyd at email@example.com or (559) 441-6340.
Features: Features Editor Kathy Mahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6356.
Complaints should begin with the editor of the section concerned, but readers also may contact Executive Editor Betsy Lumbye at email@example.com or (559) 441-6410.How should I report problems with fresnobee.com?
Contact the web staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.How should I complain about delivery problems?
Call (800) 877-3400.