Sunday, February 28, 2010

Palo Alto free daily war gets national play

The New York Times has discovered there's a newspaper war in Palo Alto, California. But what the article downplays is that the battle is between two FREE daily newspapers.

In one corner is the Palo Alto Daily News, founded in 1995 by Dave Price (pictured in front of his news racks) and Jim Pavelich. They sold the paper and now its owned by MediaNews Group, a chain of 54 newspapers. In the other corner is the Daily Post, the paper Price and Pavelich started in 2008.

While downplaying the free angle, the Times article emphasizes the importance of local news coverage and an active editorial page in the success of a free daily paper. For the record, both the Post and Daily News maintain they're in the black.

When it comes to editorial page perspectives, the Times article quotes local officials as criticizing the Post. You can infer that they probably like the other papers in the community. Price is pleased to be criticized by government officials, saying his paper is tougher than its rivals.

It appears the two free dailies are serving up much more news than one monopoly local paper would.

The Times quotes a local high school journalism teacher, Esther Wojcicki, as saying: “I am really happy that we have all these papers ... I wish that kind of choice were available to more people in more areas.”