Wednesday, April 08, 2009

California free daily group makes deep cuts

The Palo Alto Daily News, located about 30 miles south of San Francisco, has eliminated its Sunday edition and closed its sister papers in three cities in neighboring San Mateo County.

Last June, the Palo Alto paper dropped its Monday edition. So, in less than a year, it has gone from publishing seven days a week to five. Only a few years ago, the Palo Alto Daily News was growing, adding editions and regularly printing papers with 100 pages or more. Now its page count ranges from 28 to 52 depending on the day of the week.

The three editions that were canceled were the Burlingame Daily News, San Mateo Daily News and Redwood City Daily News.

The three competed in an unusually crowded market of free daily newspapers. San Mateo County also has the San Mateo Daily Journal, The Daily Post (based in Palo Alto but distributed in San Mateo County), and the San Francisco Examiner, which has been a free daily for several years.

The departure of the Daily News should be helpful to the Journal and Post, which cover the county closely. The Examiner still distributes in San Mateo County but closed its Burlingame and Redwood City offices a couple of years ago, insiders tell us.

The other paper in that area is the San Mateo County Times, a paid broadsheet owned by MediaNews Group, which also owns the Daily News.

"The two newspapers have been sharing the same local stories and ads for nearly three years," an announcement on the front of the Burlingame Daily News' last edition said. "The Times will continue to cover the Burlingame area, so our readers and advertisers will not be left without a good local newspaper. It's been a good run and we will miss covering news in your neighborhood, but look forward to reading all about it in the Times."