The Berkeley Daily Planet co-owner Becky O’Malley suggests in a column printed Wednesday that her paper might become a nonprofit, switching to a business “model familiar from public broadcasting and arts organizations.” She admits that the Planet hasn’t made money in the six years she and her husband Michael have owned it.
- “If this paper is to continue to serve this community, it’s long past time for us to think about how to make it self-sustaining without our own contributed labor or even our financial subsidy. We’re by no means fabulously rich, and we’ve spent enough money by now that prudence and the larger economy require us to significantly reduce our contribution.”
“…As far as we’re aware, there’s no newspaper now in a community like Berkeley which is supported by its readers rather than by advertising. Subscriptions have long since stopped paying for newspapers. Even the New York Times has been forced to raise cash by taking a loan on its headquarters building.
“We could, with effort, develop a model for a sustainable community newspaper which could be replicated elsewhere, at least in cities like this with a high proportion of educated and engaged residents.”