In the Northern California town of Eureka, a local businessman became so fed up at the lack of local news in the daily newspaper owned by Dean Singleton, he started his own daily in January. And the battle between Singleton’s Eureka Times-Standard and the new Eureka Reporter has become “amazingly cutthroat,” in the words of a weekly publisher in nearby Arcata. Reporters from the two dailies got into a fist fight at a murder scene.
According to a story in today’s Chronicle, Eureka businessman Rob Arkley has hired a respected local newspaper woman, Judi Pollace (pictured in the red jacket), and gave her a newsroom staff larger than Singleton’s. They’re also paid better, get better benefits (such as college tuitions for the children of employees) and use more modern equipment including a state-of-the-art press. And while Arkley is known to have conservative views, he has kept his hands out of the newsroom, say observers. His paper shocked many by coming out in favor of gay marriage. Some of the town’s most veteran journalists, including most of Singleton’s sports staff, have jumped ship to work at the Eureka Reporter. Says Joel Davis, the author of the story about the two papers, “Singleton seems to view Arkley and his upstart daily as little more than a minor nuisance.”
Photos: The Eureka Reporter touts its growing circulation on a large billboard on Highway 101. In the Eureka Reporter newsroom, Publisher Judi Pollace talks with reporter Mike Morrow. (Chronicle photos by Chris Stewart.)