The Editor's Desk

Boren: Technology improves how we deliver the news online and in print

When I first walked into The Bee’s newsroom more than four decades ago as a beginning reporter, I was greeted by the noisy clacking of manual typewriters and the bustle of a staff rushing to meet the deadline of the daily newspaper. Today’s newsroom is quiet, with the soft tap, tap, tap of computer keyboards breaking through the sound of reporters working the phones as they gather information for their stories. We no longer have a single deadline. We have constant deadlines.

Instead of working toward a late-night deadline to get the newspaper printed on time and on your doorstep in the morning, the newsroom staff now must meet the needs of digital publishing. When a story is ready, it goes online, and it may be updated several times in the news cycle. The final version appears in the morning paper.

The newspaper business has changed in much bigger ways than merely going from typewriters to the latest computers. We are no longer an industry dominated by our print edition. Our goal now is to get the news to you on any device you prefer — desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, our various apps, and in print. Even the print edition can be consumed electronically in our E-Bee, which is a replica of the pages of that day’s Bee.

During my journalism career, there have been many changes, but the pace has never been faster than in the past few years. We are continually looking at how to better compete with all the places you can get news and community information.

As we redesign our 21st century newspaper, we want to maintain the strengths of our print edition and leverage it online with the latest digital applications. For the past several weeks, The Bee’s newsroom staff has been training on a new publishing system that will give us increased flexibility in posting news stories online and in print.

This latest transition has been a challenge because we also have been producing the daily newspaper. So our staff trained on the new system part of the day and produced the daily paper on the old publishing system. That changes today as we are now live on NewsGate, a publishing system designed by a company called CCI.

In the rapidly changing news business, having the most advanced publishing tools is crucial to meeting your reading preference, no matter what platform you choose to read us on. We don’t take for granted one minute the importance of our readers and advertisers in maintaining a successful business in this highly competitive environment.

As always, we remain committed to producing the most compelling news and commentary in the San Joaquin Valley. We continue to have the largest and most experienced news team in the region, bringing you breaking news, features, sports and in-depth and investigative coverage of the issues that impact you each day. The California Newspaper Publishers Association recognized our work this year by naming The Bee the top newspaper in the state in its circulation category.

We have gone beyond traditional newspaper storytelling, with video becoming a big part of what we offer online. Our photographers and reporters shoot video on the stories they cover, and their work is being well-received by readers. A year ago, our video got about 5,000 views a month. But last month, video on fresnobee.com received 51,750 views.

We are the dominant news site in our region, and our digital traffic continues to grow as we expand our digital reach. In October, fresnobee.com had about 1.2 million monthly unique visitors and about 8.6 million page views. Between print and online, we have never had so many people read us in our 92-year history.

As we have improved our digital offerings, it has made some print readers nervous about whether the traditional newspaper is going away. We are committed to a daily print publication to go with the most competitive digital offerings in our region. The Bee’s award-winning journalism will be available on all platforms. That’s why we are developing more applications for smartphones and tablets and updating the look of our print publication.

Today we take another step forward with our new publishing system that will help us deliver stories, photos, videos, graphics and other content efficiently in print and on your digital devices.

Jim Boren is the executive editor of The Fresno Bee. Contact him at jboren@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6307.

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