Thursday, November 8th was an exciting day for a group of student journalists from schools all around the Sacramento area. Teenagers and advisers from high schools such as Foothill and McClatchy showed up at the offices of the Sacramento Bee around four o’clock and enjoyed a tour of the famous news building. The tour included viewing several floors in the building that some people did not even know existed! Just walking through the halls showed everyone the amazing photography that the Bee has used in its paper in the past. Led by Sacramento Bee employee Betty McClure, the tour provided insight on everything from how papers were printed when the Bee was new, to what goes on in the current production offices.
The tour began with the viewing of a large machine attached to what seemed to be a typewriter. This was how the very first printing plates were created, using iron. In present day, aluminum plates are used. The area that wowed the students most was probably the loud but stunning place where the newspapers are currently printed and transported. The papers zoomed above their heads, moving swiftly along long tracks from station to station. Ms. McClure explained how every once in a while a worker will grab one of the thousands of papers and take a look at it to see how the resolution is coming out. If there is an issue, they know exactly which press is acting up, and can stop it and fix it immediately.
Some people may not know that the Sacramento Bee also prints the Modesto paper, or that the newspapers that are more of a creamy color are ones that use a lot of recycled paper. Many students were surprised to hear that the Sac Bee has its own credit union and a nurse is always on duty in case of emergency.
As if the tour wasn’t amazing enough, a speaker was also present to provide the students with important information on how to keep their newspapers afloat. It’s no big secret that new internet resources and a tough economy has made the newspaper business not as profitable as it used to be. High schools that used to get their papers printed for free through certain organizations are now lucky to find the money to keep their papers from being discontinued. However, lack of funds is not something that students can’t do anything about. As said by one of the Bee’s advertising associates, “You should speak from your heart. You don’t only sell ads, you have to sell yourself.” The same philosophy works well with many things. When getting news stories and interviews, you should always be trustworthy and prove that you are someone wanting to make a beneficial difference.
The tour and the speakers let a lot of students know that the future in business and journalism can be very bright if you have the right skills and tools.
Featured photos taken by Ruvim Noga.