Seán McMahon, Digital Product Development Manager, The Sacramento Bee

Article ImageName With the Face
Seán McMahon

Job Title
Digital Product Development Manager

The Sacramento Bee


Job Function
As the digital product development manager for The Sacramento Bee, Seán McMahon spends time exploring and creating new digital strategy and solutions. "I analyze business opportunities and search for the best solutions, considering what we know and can predict about our organization, clients, audience, and technology. I also serve as the producer for these new projects," McMahon says. The role requires coordination with programmers, designers, editors, salespeople, and marketing staff.

"Being in the newsroom also means that every few months I get to work on some breaking news event where everything happens in an instant," McMahon says.  The collaborative elements of the role, the dynamic environment, and "the pursuit of business models to fund journalism and serve the public" are his favorite parts of the job.

In A Day's Work
It's an early start. "I usually wake between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. thinking about something I'm working on," says McMahon. "I make some notes, then get on with my morning, which may involve starting in on the work itself." McMahon tries to tackle one or two focused pieces of projects early, then starts responding to internal customers at The Bee and external partners with Sacramento Connect, a network of local news providers and bloggers in the Sacramento, Calif., region.

Most Memorable Customer Encounter
"We decide to broadcast live streaming web video of our editorial board meeting with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a first for us and the governor's office. We made detailed backup plans to avoid any interruptions in a room where the production staff would only be able to communicate by hand signals.

"On the day of the meeting, the room was packed. Shortly after the meeting started, I got an instant message about a technical issue. Silently, and with the governor sitting across the conference table, I stepped through backup plan after backup plan. Finally, the fifth backup configuration worked. After several minutes everything was working again and only one other person in the conference room knew what had happened."

View From the Desk
"I have a stand-up desk/cube that looks on several portraits by The Bee's photographers and a large Sacramento map, at the intersection of three walkways in the middle of the newsroom."

Outside Interest
"Irish literature and history, philosophy, all music and art, and right now-Sacramento."

If Not Econtent, Then What?
"Living quietly to write, surf, fish, and hike with my wife and our dogs."