Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New free daily launches on Florida island

A newspaper war has erupted on Marco Island, a community of 15,858 south of Naples on Florida's west coast. The island has two weekly newspapers, the Sun Times and the Marco Eagle. On June 5, the Ft. Myers News-Press acquired the Sun Times. Possibly in response to that move, the other weekly, the E.W. Scripps-owned Marco Eagle has become a free daily and changed its name to the Marco Daily Eagle. Scripps also owns the nearby Naples Daily News, so it is likely that the free daily was a preemptive move to keep the Ft. Myers paper from launching a free daily on the island. The new daily's editor is Tom Rife, who was at the Naples paper for 31 years as sports editor and then became a high school teacher.