Monday, July 10, 2006

Free daily thrives as paid paper implodes

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. The 100-plus-year-old Santa Barbara News Press has lost seven of its top journalists in the past week in a dispute over newsroom meddling by a billionaire owner. In Feburary, Jeramy Gordon (photo) quit his job at the Palo Alto Daily News, moved to Santa Barbara and launched his own free daily called "The Santa Barbara Daily Sound." As Editor & Publisher Magazine reports, the paper is gaining momentum, with enough advertising growth to boost it beyond its original eight pages to 12. With $250,000 in seed money that he raised from family and friends, Gordon is operating on a shoe-string budget with just three full-time employees. Since the paper started in March, Sound's circulation has increased from 3,000 to 5,000.