Saturday, April 07, 2007

Two kinds of free dailies

There are two kinds of free dailies -- those that make money and those that don't. The ones that don't make money include all of Metro International's U.S. papers (Boston, New York and Phily) and Phil Anschutz's Examiners (San Francisco, Washington and Baltimore). The newest addition to the money-making list is the 9,000-circ Santa Barbara Daily Sound, owned by 24-year-old Jeramy Gordon. The Sound has just celebrated its first anniversary and it became profitable 9 1/2 months after it started, the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club reports.

Gordon started small and is growing the paper -- from three full-timers to nine, from eight pages a day to 24. And that may be the difference between his paper and the big guys who are losing money. They started big, haven't been able to find a market, and are now forced to lose money or cut back.

Gordon has also been helped by the fact that the town's main daily newspaper, the Santa Barbara News-Press, has imploded in the past year. That paper's owner, a woman who got billions in a divorce, was caught meddling in the newsroom. Many of her staffers have quit. And some of those defectors have joined Gordon's staff.