Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New daily newspaper starts in Palo Alto

[Full disclosure: Press Club blog editor Dave Price is obviously a subject of the following posting.]

Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun writes:
    A startup launching in the heart of Silicon Valley this week is offering a product that many now consider quaint and perhaps even passé: a traditional, ink-on-dead-tree-pulp daily newspaper. 
    In another act of brazen heresy against the prevailing dot-com culture here, the Palo Alto Daily Post, which published its first issue yesterday, has no Web site. 
    At a time when most newspaper owners are looking to the Internet to revive their struggling industry, the new paper's owners, James Pavelich and David Price, brusquely dismiss the need for an online presence. 
    "We're a newspaper," Mr. Pavelich said in an interview yesterday as he returned from shuttling his inaugural edition to newsboxes around town. "The Internet is a form of broadcast to me. We're not broadcasters. We just don't have the time to run two businesses." 
    The new daily is free, which could touch off a newspaper war of sorts with another free paper, the Palo Alto Daily News. The owners of the new paper are intimately familiar with that title. They co-founded the Daily News in 1995. ... In 2005, just as the fortunes of the newspaper industry began to sour, the pair sold the Daily News and several affiliated papers to the Knight Ridder chain for $25 million, Mr. Price said. 
    "They paid a premium," he said. In 2006, Knight Ridder sold the Daily News to the McClatchy Co., which quickly spun those papers and the San Jose Mercury News off to a Denver-based newspaper chain, MediaNews. 
    Mr. Price said the decision to start a new paper was driven in part by disappointment with the direction of the Daily News as the new owners consolidated the operation with other nearby papers. 
    "The news content seemed to shift to a lot less local coverage and a lot more regional news you could find in other papers," he said. 
    Earlier this year, the Daily News moved its offices out of Palo Alto, to neighboring Menlo Park. Messrs. Pavelich and Price swooped in, tweaking the competition by renting space in the same building it just vacated. "It was kind of comical to us and we jumped at it," Mr. Pavelich said.
Disclosure: Price is vice president and webmaster of the Press Club.

UPDATE, Thursday, 7 p.m.: Editor & Publisher's Mark Fitzgerald devoted his column to the Palo Alto Daily Post:
    Price and James Pavelich are back in Palo Alto newspapers, three years after selling their free-distribution Palo Alto Daily News to Knight Ridder for what they can now say -- with their non-compete expired -- was an eyebrow-raising price of $25 million. ... 
    Not only are the pair back in town, they're publishing out of the same building they left three years ago. The Daily News, which covers several other Silicon Valley towns in addition to Palo Alto, several months ago decamped to nearby Menlo Park. Price plays down the rivalry with the Daily News, which MediaNews acquired in one of the side deals that followed McClatchy's acquisition of Knight Ridder. 
    "We're not here to run them out of business," he said. "Whether they succeed or fail, there's plenty of room for both of us." 
    (Daily News General Manager Michael Gelbman did not return a message seeking comment.)


Anonymous said...

Hurrah! There is still life left in the daily newspaper business.

Anonymous said...

If by 'life' you mean driving the competition out of business. So let there be competition.