Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Free dailies attracting young readers

Writers Don Nizen and Floyd Weintraub, writing for the trade association National Association of Newspapers, describe the growth of free newspapers. Most of this seems accurate except for one glaring error. In the third paragraph, it says that the first free dailies appeared in Sweden. Unless the authors have a time machine, I think the free dailies in Colorado began before that. The first in that state was the Colorado Daily, the University of Colorado student paper that was kicked off of campus in the early 1970s for its editorials against the Vietnam War. It became a successful community daily for several years, although it has recently been beset with financial problems and ownership turnover. However, Aspen got two free dailies, one in 1979 (which was really a news letter published daily until the owner bought a web press in 1984), and the second in 1988. The Vail Daily began in 1984, too. All of these Colorado publications began before Metro was a glimmer in anyone's eye. And the original typography of Metro looked a lot like those Colorado papers, particularly the Aspen Times Daily.