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Berkeley Daily Planet to stop print edition

The owners of the Berkeley Daily Planet announced today that they will stop their print edition next month, but continue a Web site with one reporter.

Owners Becky and Mike O’Malley blamed the closure on a decline in advertising in general and a boycott led by “a few misguided zealots who represent themselves as friends of Israel.”

The Berkeley Daily Planet has gone out of business before. It started on April 7, 1999 by a group of journalists and Stanford MBA students, according to this account in the Chronicle. It closed on Nov. 22, 2002. Employees learned about the shutdown by arriving at work and finding a note on the door, the Daily Californian (the UC-Berkeley paper) reported.

More than a year later, on April 1, 2003, the O’Malleys revived the Daily Planet, but only published it twice a week. Last August, they switched to once a week.

The O’Malleys said in today’s statement that they tried everything to keep the paper afloat including “free-will subscriptions, donation boxes, web contributions and direct fundraising.”

“The only way to cut expenses further is to give up print publication
for the moment,” the O’Malleys wrote. “We know that many if not most of our 40,000-plus
faithful readers prefer paper, and frankly, we do too. But our central
mission continues to be reporting the news, and new technology has made
online news delivery very attractive.”

Becky O’Malley told the Daily Californian: “”We had hopes when we started that we would be able to break even from the advertising sales, but that never really happened … Nowhere these days is a good place to sustain a newspaper through advertising sales.”

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