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.