Sunday, August 13, 2006

Upstart free daily takes on Dean Singleton

A businessman in Eureka, California, has launched and generously funded a free daily newspaper to go up against that town's 152-year-old paid-circulation daily owned by Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group. The businessman, Rob Arkley, explains in this story in the San Francisco Chronicle that he simply started the paper because he wanted more local news coverage than the other paper was providing. Author Joel Davis says the battle is a "pound-the-pavement tussle between two dailies that are constantly trying to scoop each other, something rarely found in big cities anymore, let alone towns with populations under 30,000." The upstart paper has a bigger newsroom than that of Singleton's. The reporters are paid more and get better benefits. The paper is printed on a new multi-milliondollar press using paper that's thicker than what Singleton uses. Says owner Arkley, "I get tired of the Times-Standard saying 'Rob is trying to put us out of business.' I mean [the Times-Standard and parent MediaNews] are a monopoly in every market they are in, whining like a bunch of babies. ... The first lick of competition they get they scream like they are getting (screwed). ... They are not having any fun."