Saturday, November 23, 2002

More details about Berkeley paper's closure

While most free dailies are enjoying growth and success, the Berkeley (California) Daily Planet is a notable exception. It closed yesterday after 3 1/2 years in business. Started in 1997 by three Stanford business school graduates and two journalists, it attempted to survive by offering low cost advertising like other free dailies. A story in the San Francisco Chronicle today quotes the editor of the Planet as expressing disappointment over the closure considering that he had made a number of changes in the past few months to improve news coverage. Apparently it was too little, too late. The paper had three editors and three reporters, 10 regular contributors, a handful of interns and a tiny business staff. Circulation varied, and Alexander estimated it in the 15,000-20,000 range just before it closed. The Planet's owners started a paper in San Mateo, California, about 15 miles away, and claim that it is doing well.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Berkeley (California) 'Daily Planet' folds

A free daily serving Berkeley, California, closed today after printing its last issue. The University of California Daily Cal newspaper reports that the Planet's employees learned about the closure when arrived at work today and found a note on the door. The Los Angeles Times reported in January that the Planet had failed to turn a profit since its 1999 inception. "This year there had been a continued decline in pages, and the number of pages is the number of ads," said Judith Scherr, who had been a reporter at the paper for about 18 months.