Friday, March 31, 2006

More free papers in Spain

Spain has become the most prolific place for free daily newspapers, with three of the nation's four major dailies being given away. Is there room now for a free evening newspaper? Editor's Weblog asked the editors of Spain's major papers that question. What do you think they said?

Switch to tab doesn't work for WSJ

Reuters is reporting that the Wall Street Journal's switch from a broadsheet to a tabloid format forits Asian and European editions has not been well received by readers. Dow Jones & Co. plans to "retool" the papers, but wasn't more specific than that. Chief executive Richard Zannino said some readers feel "there is less of a paper than before." He had hoped that readers would see that there have been no content changes and that it is only a matter of becoming accustomed to the new size.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Palo Alto Daily's editor quits -- or is fired

Anyone who is watching the growth of the free daily industry is probably tuned into the switch in management at the Palo Alto Daily News. The PADN is probably the most successful free daily newspaper in the United States. Under previous owners Dave Price and Jim Pavelich, the paper was growing, profitable, winning awards, busting out new editions and taking chances. Since they sold the paper to Knight Ridder in 2005, and new management took over in January 2006, things appear to have changed.

Take this week's departure of longtime columnist and editor Diana Diamond. According to the Palo Alto Weekly, the Daily's new publisher, Shareef Dajani, says "We both agreed to go our own way." Turns out, he fired her -- at least that's what she told the Palo Alto Weekly. Dajani hasn't rebutted the charge.

The way Diamond tells it, one day Dajani told her he had a number of problems with her work and a couple of days later, he lowered the boom without giving her a chance to correct what ever alleged problems existed. And then he immediately had a replacement -- an editor he used to work with at the paper in Alameda, Calif.

Diamond says the PADN is suffering under Knight Ridder -- the Monday issue of the San Mateo Daily News was eliminated to save money, deadlines were moved forward to San Jose Mercury and Contra Costa Times evening deadlines, and hiring freeze has reduced the paper's newsroom capabilities.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Free daily starts in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The newspaper business in Santa Barbara has seen some tumultuous changes in the past six years. In 2000, Wendy McCaw, who became a billionaire when she divorced husband and cell phone pioneer Jeff McCaw, bought her hometown newspaper, the 45,000-circulation Santa Barbara News-Press from the New York Times. As soon as the ink was dry on the sale papers, McCaw was using the News-Press as a vehicle to attack the California Coastal Commission because it wouldn't let her block access to 500 feet of beachfront by her home. (This Forbes article suggests she's a strange woman.) Key staffers bolted from the paper, some going to the crosstown weekly. There was talk of starting another daily in Santa Barbara to compete against what the News-Press had become, but nobody did it.

Until now.

A former staffer at the Palo Alto Daily News, 23-year-old Jeramy Gordon, moved to Santa Barbara and launched the Daily Sound. Gordon said he got the idea to start a free paper from his former bosses and mentors Dave Price and Jim Pavelich. Price and Pavelich founded the Daily News Group, a chain of six free dailies in the Bay Area, which were sold to Knight Ridder in 2005. Gordon worked at the Daily News for four years, his last year as managing editor. “Free dailies are the wave of the future,” Gordon said. “As more and more people get tired of buying those big awkward broadsheet newspapers, they’ll see just how valuable our product is.”

Peninsula Press Club write up
Daily Sound's press release about its launch
Santa Barbara's weekly manages to give a whole paragraph to the town's new newspaper

Monday, March 13, 2006

Alison Draper named publisher of Quick

The Dallas Observer's publisher, Alison Quick, is jumping ship for Quick, the free daily being published by the Dallas Morning News. Draper began her career at the Dallas Observer in classified sales and later served in several positions, including retail account executive, sales director, advertising director and associate publisher, before becoming publisher in 2001. While she was publisher, Draper was also sales and marketing director of Village Voice Media.

"Alison has a proven track record of delivering results for advertisers who want to connect with younger readers," said Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News and its affiliate publications, including Quick. "Quick has been successful in delivering this younger audience since we launched it three years ago, and we are confident that she can build on that momentum going forward."

Draper emphasized that the content direction of Quick will not change under her leadership.

"Quick is a publication I strongly believe in, and I have been impressed with its steady growth," said Draper. "The best part is that its content formula is already working well, and I am eager to join with the talented staff of Quick to build on its accomplishments."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Tampa Bay Times goes from weekly to daily

The paid St. Petersburg Times says it is expanding its free weekly, tbt*, to a daily starting March 6. The paper launched in September 2004 as a vehicle to connect advertisers to younger readers, those in the 18-34 demo.

"Since the debut of Tampa Bay Times, readers and advertisers have been enthusiastic with their praise," said Paul Tash, Times chairman, chief executive and editor. "We're ready now to make it available every weekday."

The Times' plans provoked a federal lawsuit from its competitor, the Tampa Tribune, which complained that the name infringes on its trademark for the Tampa Times, an afternoon newspaper that ceased publication in 1982.

The new publication will publish each weekday morning, Monday through Friday, with distribution at hundreds of pickup locations around the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater region.

Tampa Bay Times will include concise versions of the day's local and national news, with an emphasis on sports, consumer features and entertainment.

Monday through Thursday, the paper will be a 40-page tabloid with circulation of about 40,000 copies.

The Friday edition will be bigger in distribution and pages, with a special entertainment pullout section. Friday's edition will be available all weekend, bringing circulation to more than 60,000.