Fresno Bee reduces print production, focuses on e-edition

The Fresno Bee will only print three days a week beginning July 8 as newspapers transition to digital focus

The door for The Fresno Bee’s new location at 710 VanNess Ave., #293, in the Factory 41 building. (Rigo Moran)
Serena Bettis
Published June 25, 2024  • 
10:00 am

FRESNO – With plans to cut its print editions in half and emphasize its digital products, The Fresno Bee is leaning into changes in the media landscape that have continued to put pressure on newspapers of all sizes.

After reducing print publication to six days a week in January 2020, The Bee will now only print its newspaper on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Christopher Kirkpatrick, senior editor of The Fresno Bee, announced the transition in a column May 3; the new print schedule will go into effect July 8. 

Reflecting on this change, Jim Boren, former executive editor of The Fresno Bee and current director of the Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust, said that while he would love to continue to have seven-day-a-week newspapers with “big fat Sunday papers,” he is not surprised by the transition. 

“If a newspaper was established today, they would not be a print product, and you can see the many news sites that have come in recent years in the San Joaquin Valley, and they’re all digital-only sites,” Boren said. “So I think it’s just a natural thing.”

In his announcement, Kirkpatrick wrote that this transition is “a vital step toward the sustainability of The Bee.”

Subscribers to the print edition will receive their papers through the U.S. Postal Service, with the Sunday edition publishing and arriving on Saturdays due to the post office’s delivery schedule. The Bee will continue to publish a daily e-edition. 

Further, Kirkpatrick wrote that this transition will allow the Bee to improve upon its existing digital services; the Bee later announced an updated version of its e-edition, called “The Fresno Bee’s Edition,” on June 18. The updated e-edition involves a more interactive experience, similar to what a reader would receive through the Bee’s website, coupled with a print-style layout. 

Kirkpatrick wrote that the Bee understands how some of its readers who have read the print edition for decades will be disappointed with the change, but “the hard truth” is that the world has changed, and Fresno-area residents increasingly get their news online. 

Boren, who retired from the Bee in 2018, said the real surprise with this news was that the move away from print had not come earlier. With a reduction in advertising revenues and an increase in the costs of printing a newspaper, the business model of a traditional newspaper is no longer viable, and many papers are reducing their print products or staying away from the medium altogether. 

Alongside this change, Boren said he hopes The Fresno Bee staff will dig deeply into the important issues of the community, cover public meetings of all kinds and not just focus on the easy things.

“I hope that The Fresno Bee will take money that they save from printing to be fearless in their reporting and give us as readers a lot more than aggregated content from other newspapers around the country,” Boren said. 

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter