Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Paper's owner flips over format change

Funny story out of California. I'm told that Dean Singleton, head of MediaNews Group, became irate when he learned that his free daily in Palo Alto, Calif. had drastically reduced its page size without telling him.

The Palo Alto Daily News had been 16.25 x 11 inches, but local management decided to shrink the size to 10.75 x 11.375 inches.

The change was made in early May, but apparently nobody told the boss. When he found out, he became enraged. He demanded to know who made the change, and apparently some management positions have changed as a result.

A source says the Daily News switched from a commercial printer to presses operated by a sister paper in San Jose, Calif. The San Jose printers didn't want to print the size paper that the Palo Alto Daily News had been using.

In the next few months, the Daily News will either revert to its previous size or, possibly, go to a broadsheet. If it does, it might be the first free broadsheet ever -- an interesting idea.

I've thought for many years that free dailies might attract more upscale readers (and top dollar advertisers) if they became broadsheets. The Palo Alto Daily News, which has blazed trails before, might reach new heights as a broadsheet. It's certainly worth a shot.