Saturday, April 26, 2008

Colorado Daily moving into rival's building

One of the first free daily newspapers, the Colorado Daily, has moved into the building that houses its former competitor, the paid Boulder Daily Camera.

The Camera and Colorado Daily will maintain separate newsrooms and separate news and advertising staffs even though the two papers have the same owner, said Lou Patterson, the Colorado Daily's operations manager.

"(We're) next-door neighbors rather than roommates," Patterson said, according to a story in the Camera.

The Camera's red brick building faces Pearl and 11th streets in downtown Boulder. The Daily's 20 employees will move into the back of that building, which faces Walnut Street.

"It makes perfect sense ... It is a better location, it's much cheaper and allows us to realize some operation synergies that were not possible in their current location," said Al Manzi, president of Prairie Mountain Publishing, owner of the two papers.

The Colorado Daily originally was the student-run paper at the University of Colorado, but it split away from the university in 1971 in a dispute with the school's regents over its Vietnam War coverage. The student editors set up shop in an office above a beer joint a block from campus and published the paper on their own without university support.

To pay the bills, the Daily expanded its advertising base by distributing citywide. It began sending reporters to city council, county commission and school board meetings. And with that, a 34-year battle with the Camera began.

In the 1990s, the Daily suffered a number of problems including an embezzlement scandal.

In September 2005, the Camera's owner, E.W. Scripps Co., bought the Daily. Then Scripps transferred ownership of both papers to Prairie Mountain Publishing, a joint venture it has with Denver-based MediaNews Group, publisher of The Denver Post.

HISTORICAL NOTE: The Colorado Daily is the nation's oldest operating free daily newspaper. There were at least two free dailies before it: the San Fernando Valley's Los Angeles Daily News and the Contra Costa Times, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., east of San Francisco. However, the Contra Costa paper switched to paid in the 1960s and Daily News began charging in 1982.