Thursday, May 04, 2006

San Francisco Daily launches

As Knight Ridder, McClatchy, MediaNews Group and Hearst are busy shuffling around newspapers in the Bay Area, a new independent free daily has started. The former publishers of the Palo Alto (Calif.) Daily News, Dave Price and Jim Pavelich, today (May 3) launched the "San Francisco Daily." The paper is published Monday through Friday and circulates in the San Francisco neighborhoods of the Marina, Chestnut, Cow Hollow, North Beach and Fillmore. A wider circulation footprint is planned within weeks, according to Price.

"Our focus is on local news and what's happening in our neighborhoods, but we also want to include enough news from the rest of the world to make SF Daily a one-stop shop for people who want to be up-to-date," Price said. "We don't have a political agenda or a cause. Our purpose it to provide useful, unbiased information."

The first issue, which was delivered this morning by Price, Pavelich, and their eight employees to area residents and businesses, was eight pages. The publishers plan to keep it to that size until they build up an advertising base.

They began the profitable and frequently copied Palo Alto Daily News the same way -- with a humble eight-page edition. Many scoffed when they started the Palo Alto paper in the mid-1990s, saying a free daily would never survive. One well known newspaper industry analyst, John Morton, said he doubted the Palo Alto Daily News would last six months. Competitors derided the Palo Alto Daily News as well.

Over the years, as the paper grew, copy-cats began springing up both in the Bay Area and across the country. In 1995, there were fewer than 10 free dailies in the United States. By 2000, there were 40. Today, there are more than 60 in the U.S. and 150 worldwide.

Price and Pavelich sold the Palo Alto Daily News and four sister papers to Knight Ridder in 2005. Rumor had it that they were going to develop free papers for Knight Ridder in other markets. But Knight Ridder stopped all expansion plans in the fall of 2005 when shareholders demanded the break-up of the company. Price and Pavelich remained with Knight Ridder through December 2005.

Editor & Publisher
Wikipedia entry for SF Daily
SF Daily web site
Peninsula Press Club story about SF Daily
AP story (Note that the name of the paper and the name of Amando Mendoza are wrong.)
Bay City News Service report on new newspaper