Sacramento Bee photo of Dan Walters by Jose Luis Villegas.
Newsroom cuts have roiled the Sacramento Bee in recent days but it's likely that the biggest departure of them all will be the one announced on Wednesday. Dan Walters, the politics columnist who has been writing at the Bee for 33 years, is taking what Politico calls a buyout. His final column will run in the Bee on Sunday, the paper says.
Walters confirmed the news to Twitter but said his politics column will continue in a forum to be named later.
I’m retiring from Bee but not retiring from journalism and after a brief vacation my column will resume in a different venue https://t.co/MlpcvyLIVv— Dan Walters (@WaltersBee) May 31, 2017
A Californian all the way, Walters began working at the Humboldt Times in Eureka while he was in high school. He was editor of the Hanford Sentinel before joining the old Sacramento Union in 1973 and moving to its Capitol bureau just as Jerry Brown was beginning his first term as governor. Walters became the Union's Capitol bureau chief, began writing his state politics column in 1981, and moved to the Bee in 1984.
From the Bee story today:
He has written more than 9,000 columns about California and its politics, and his column has appeared in newspapers throughout the state.
“To say it is the end of an era is an understatement,” said Bee Political Editor Amy Chance. “In the Capitol Bureau, we’ll miss his institutional memory, his stories about state politicians and his generosity with his time and his files. He promises we can call whenever we want.”
In 1986, Walters’ book, “The New California: Facing the 21st Century,” was published in its first edition.
He also is the founding editor of the “California Political Almanac,” the co-author of a book on lobbying entitled “The Third House: Lobbyists, Money and Power in Sacramento,” and contributed chapters to two other books, “Remaking California” and “The New Political Geography of California.
The Bee last week cut ties with six newsroom staffers and another half-dozen are expected to leave this week, the Sacramento News and Review is reporting.
As the Poynter Institute reported, The Bee’s parent company “has laid off staffers from several of its newsrooms in recent weeks,” including eight newsroom employees at The Fresno Bee on May 2. Two days later, a gloomy financial forecast showed the McClatchy Co. lost $95.6 million during the first quarter of 2017....
Reporters in the newsroom were taken aback by the latest developments. Senior reporter Brad Branan wrote last Monday that he was “exhausted” by the cycle of attrition on Facebook. “I’d get out, but I love what I do and still believe it is essential, perhaps more than ever,” he wrote.
Branan later learned he was spared from the latest round of cuts, but expressed concern for his “colleagues and the institution of journalism. I don’t blame anyone for this situation, because no publication has figured out an answer.”