SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A new idea is surfacing to save the Sacramento Bee from bankruptcy. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg unveiled a plan to raise millions of dollars and keep the paper from folding.

For more than 160 years. the Sacramento Bee has been bringing people news across the Central Valley, but now the Bee’s future is uncertain. It’s parent company McClatchy announced last month it’s filing for bankruptcy protection.

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“We must save the Sacramento Bee, this is a vital civic asset,” Steinberg said.

Now Mayor Steinberg is putting forward a challenge to get investors to purchase the paper.

“We would be looking for a person or a foundation that had the means to be able to buy the Bee, but also who had the commitment to enhancing the role of independent journalism in the Sacramento area,” Steinberg said.

It’s an idea we’ve seen from city hall before when Sacramento leaders recruited new NBA owners to keep the Kings.

“Independent journalism is every bit important a civic asset as anything else we fight for in the capital city,” Steinberg said.

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Retired journalism professor Robert Pacholik says the Bee will need to change the way it gets readers if it wants to remain financially viable.

“If you don’t have people to put the newspaper in front of, circulation, you don’t have a newspaper. And that model, I think, is dead,” Pacholik said.

The Bee’s been around for five generations and now many are hoping this plan will help it will bounce back from bankruptcy.

“Without a major newspaper, we are a lessor city. We are blind and deaf and we don’t know what’s happening around us,” Pacholik said.

The mayor says he will be meeting with prospective buyers on March 27th, but so far he has not revealed any names.
He also says it’s unlikely the city would contribute any cash, to prevent any editorial conflict of interest.

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A McClatchy spokesperson had no comment on the story Wednesday.