Thursday, February 11, 2010

Berkeley Daily Planet to stop print edition

The owners of the Berkeley Daily Planet announced today that they will stop their print edition next month, but continue a Web site with one reporter.

Owners Becky and Mike O'Malley blamed the closure on a decline in advertising in general and a boycott led by "a few misguided zealots who represent themselves as friends of Israel."

The Berkeley Daily Planet has gone out of business before. It started on April 7, 1999 by a group of journalists and Stanford MBA students, according to this account in the Chronicle. It closed on Nov. 22, 2002. Employees learned about the shutdown by arriving at work and finding a note on the door, the Daily Californian (the UC-Berkeley paper) reported.

More than a year later, on April 1, 2003, the O'Malleys revived the Daily Planet, but only published it twice a week. Last August, they switched to once a week.

The O'Malleys said in today's statement that they tried everything to keep the paper afloat including "free-will subscriptions, donation boxes, web contributions and direct fundraising."

"The only way to cut expenses further is to give up print publication for the moment," the O'Malleys wrote. "We know that many if not most of our 40,000-plus faithful readers prefer paper, and frankly, we do too. But our central mission continues to be reporting the news, and new technology has made online news delivery very attractive."

Becky O'Malley told the Daily Californian: ""We had hopes when we started that we would be able to break even from the advertising sales, but that never really happened ... Nowhere these days is a good place to sustain a newspaper through advertising sales."


Fred Dodsworth said...

I will miss reading the paper edition of Berkeley Daily Planet and our community will suffer for the lack of coverage. The Planet regularly examined and exposed the unnaturally close relationship between government and developers in this community. I certainly hope some other group steps into the void left.

Anonymous said...

The Planet was an embarrassment. It was filled with typos and errors stemming from carelessness. The layout was grey and off-putting. It seemed to speak for a narrow slice of the community, one particular political faction. It never blossomed into a publication that was accepted community-wide.

Anonymous said...

The O'Malleys bought the Planet to push their own political views, and figured that would result in a money-making publication. A smarter way to go would be for a publisher to begin with the idea that the paper's purpose is to simply inform the community about news and issues, not become a political rag that attempts to indoctrinate people.

Robert B. Livingston said...

This is a shame.

Without a print edition, the Berkeley Planet is just another node on world wide.

Anonymous said...

The bums who make money recycling newspaper truly mourn this day!

Fred Dodsworth said...

"The O'Malleys bought the Planet to push their own political views"?
Why would anyone even bother to post such an obvious statement? Let alone anonymously.

Anyone who believes any 'owner' is going to ignore their own political interests while wielding the power of the press has never actually participated in nor examined the editorial process.

There's a reason the homily states: "The power of press belongs to those who own one."