The Berkeley Daily Planet, which has printed twice a week since 2003, is reducing its publication schedule to just one issue per week. The move comes three weeks after MediaNews Group closed the Berkeley-based East Bay Daily News. Becky O’Malley, who owns the Planet with husband Michael, explained the decision in green terms:
- “This would have obvious environmental advantages: less paper and less gasoline consumed. We’re going to increase the number of pages in an issue, along with the number of copies distributed, so the savings aren’t as much as they might seem to be, but they’re not insubstantial.
“… For our loyal advertisers, weekly publication will probably be beneficial. If an issue remains on their prospective customer’s coffee table for a full week, the ads will probably be noticed more.”
Neil Henry, UC Berkeley journalism dean, told the Daily Cal he wasn’t surprised: “You can only lose so much money for so long.”
O’Malley told the Daily Cal that the response she has received has been “surprisingly enthusiastic.” As of Friday, the paper had only received one complaint.
But the Daily Cal said some city officials are worried because the Planet and Daily News were the only papers which covered the city government in depth. “Any time we lose information getting out to the public, I think it is a sad loss,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington.
- UPDATE, 11:48 a.m.:Becky O’Malley, in an e-mail this morning, emphasized that the Planet will be online on a daily basis. “This means more, not less, news available to the public — we’re not laying off any reporters, and since space on the web is essentially unlimited, we’ll be able to have more and longer stories.”