The Scoop

A blog about what's new and changing on

September 7, 2008
We want your input

We're building a Web site that will allow users to easier navigate our site and find content of interest to them. As mentioned in an earlier post, we'll have more interactive tools for readers to share content and interact with Bee reporters and other readers in the region. But I think what will make the new sacbee much better is a new attitude we're developing in the newsroom.

The new attitude involves a willingness to actively seek out and listen to reader input and feedback to improve how we serve our readers, both online and in the paper. Part of this attitude change is driven by the Internet itself -- a recognition that readers have more choices than ever for news and information, and that the Internet offers editors the chance to get input even before we've made some of our decisions.

Editors have always sought to serve their readers, but the feedback editors got was often limited to readers reacting in letters or phone calls to decisions already made. Every couple years, a newspaper might conduct a poll of readers in its market to gauge what they were reading and how well they liked a particular section or columnist. But again, readers were asked to react to decisions editors had already made. No one ever asked readers to suggest a section they would like to read or a type of column they would like to read.

In the coming days, we'll be asking every fifth user who comes to sacbee if they would give us some feedback in an online poll. There will be several questions asking readers to click a box that best represents how they feel about the site or tell us why they came to sacbee. There will also be some questions that will allow readers to make suggestions about how we can better serve them online -- not just react to what we are doing.

After we launch the new sacbee, we will continue to ask users for feedback, partly to gauge if readers think the new sacbee is indeed an improvement. But also to keep improving how we serve our readers online.

Along those lines, as we are forced to make decisions on whether to retire some comics and add new ones, either because the comic creator is retiring or wants a hefty increase in what they charge us, we'll be asking readers to help us make decisions on which comics should run in The Bee. We'll use a new reader forum tool we'll have with the new site to preview some of the new comics and ask readers which of the new potential comics they like best. We may have readers rate all our current comics, and then look at those comics that received the fewest positive votes to compare against the new possible comics. The goal here is that readers will help choose which comics we publish and which we decide to no longer publish.

We're also hoping to let readers know in advance when one of our beat reporters or columnists plans to sit down with a newsmaker, and we'll ask you for any questions you would like to see addressed. That will no only allow readers to help shape the news, but to make our public officials more accountable to the communities they serve.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

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On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Scoop

The Scoop is a blog where the managers of talk about new initiatives and our plans for You can reach us by at the e-mail addresses below or you can comment on our postings.

Tom Negrete is managing editor of The Bee and oversees the daily work of journalists who produce news content for the newspaper and Negrete, who has been at The Bee since 1994, has served as assistant managing editor for business and sports, sports editor and assistant city editor. E-mail him at or reach him at (916) 321-1171.

Seán McMahon is The Bee's Director of Digital Media, overseeing the interactive efforts of the company. His e-mail is

Linda Gonzales is digital team leader for and has been an editor at The Bee since 1995. You can email her at

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