Friday, March 27, 2009

A rollicking newspaper war in Vail

A battle between the two free dailies in the beautiful ski resort of Vail is getting downright ugly.

The Vail Daily, the town's 25-year-old chain-owned paper, has obtained a deal with the local Starbucks stores to keep the other paper out of those stores. The other paper, the Vail Mountaineer, fired back with a front page editorial slamming the deal, headlined "Corporate Greed."

The editorial played off of the idea that Starbucks is an out-of-town chain and the Vail Daily is owned by an out-of-town chain, Swift Newspapers of Reno, Nev. The man who sold the Vail Daily to Swift, however, is Jim Pavelich, who is the driving force behind the Mountaineer.

According to the Mountaineer, the Vail Daily also threatened two children's charities just prior to their fundraisers by threatening to withhold any support if the charities accepted free ads from the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer also claims that the Vail Daily is offering deep discounts to advertisers if they sign a nondisclosure agreement promising not to disclose their ad rates to other customers of the paper. The Vail Daily hasn't used its paper to respond to the allegations.