New York Times reporter Miguel Helft writes in Sunday’s edition:

People in Palo Alto frequently call Dave Price a contrarian. While they typically mean it as a slam, Mr. Price, the co-founder and editor of the Palo Alto Daily Post, considers it a badge of honor.

“We are contrarian, but there are good reasons to be that way,” said Mr. Price, whose newspaper opposes just about everything that the city government does.

Mr. Price’s contrarian streak extends to his take on the newspaper business. He started The Daily Post in 2008, as the recession forced further cutbacks and closings at many of the nation’s already suffering newspapers. And in a time when most newspaper publishers spend much effort figuring out how to profit from the Web, The Daily Post is proudly print-only.

“Giving away news online is a dumb way to do business,” according to its Web site, which does not post any news.

Yet Mr. Price said the Daily Post broke even within a year. “Every month, revenue goes up,” he said.

Mr. Price is not the only one defying conventional journalism wisdom. Palo Alto, a highly wired Silicon Valley community, is, too.

At a time when many cities struggle to support one newspaper, Palo Alto has three: The Daily Post, The Daily News, which began publishing in 1995, and The Palo Alto Weekly, which has a daily online edition and has been around since 1979. …

This month, in the days after the crash of a small plane caused a 10-hour blackout in Palo Alto and killed three employees of Tesla Motors, the three papers, combined, published some 30 articles examining everything from the city’s response to the power grid’s connection with the city-run electric utility.

And in a city where laptops, iPhones and Kindles are standard issue, many residents still walk a block or two to pick up one of the city’s newspapers, all of which are free.

“It is phenomenal to go into a coffee shop in the morning and see people reading local newspapers,” said Ted Glasser, a professor of communications at Stanford. “These are manageable newspapers. You can read them in 15 or 20 minutes.” …

    • [



Photos: Top, The Daily Post’s Dave Price. Middle, Jay Thorwaldson, editor of Palo Alto Weekly, talking with Tyler Hanley, the online editor; Bottom, Daily News executive edtior Mario Dianda. All photos by Ramin Rahimian for the New York Times.

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  1. In San Francisco, you have the chron, the examiner, sf weekly, sf bay guardian, the gay bay reporter, and numerous hyper-local weekly papers and ethnic papers. This idea that most cities only have one newspaper seems to be a bit of fallacy, though it's perhaps accurate if you're only counting white mainstream newspapers aimed at middle class consumers.

  2. Redwood City is the best when it comes to free newspapers.We are litterley spoiled rotten. I will name them all.
    You have;
    the Palo Alto Daly News, Palo Alto Weekley, Palo Alto Post, Redwood City Daily Journel, and the SF Examiner. These are all Daily newspapers avalible for free in the streets of Redwood City.And if you count weekly newspapers you have the SF Bay Guardian, the Sf weekley, El Mensajero(spanish),El Bohemio(spanish).
    Not to mention the ones you pay for like the SF chronicle, San Mateo county times, San Jose Mercury, Newyork times, and USA today.
    Redwood City is a newspaper haven!!!! The rest of the country TAKE NOTE!!!!

  3. I wonder if the NY Times is planning to make a foray into Palo Alto via the Bay Area News Project. After all, there's gold in them thar hills!

  4. The question I'm left with, after reading this article, is whether this is the only place where you could have such a competitive environment, with three robust newspapers … or whether this situation could be replicated elsewhere in the U.S. … If so, it could be the beginning of a revolution in journalism.

  5. The NYT reporter should have come a little north to Redwood City where the Daily Journal could be added to the list. Also the Examiner. RWC Is hog heaven for a free news junkie.

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