‘Hyper-local’ citizen journalism site closing

Another attempt at a “hyper-local” Web site has bit the dust. Backfence has announced it is shutting down its 13 sites including those serving Palo Alto, San Mateo and Sunnyvale. Paidcontent.org attributes the death to Backfence’s inability to get any local traction editorially and a series of managment troubles. When word leaked out that Backfence was coming to Palo Alto last year, the Palo Alto Weekly redesigned its Palo Alto Online site, adding blogs and weblogs. The Palo Alto Daily

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Palo Alto, San Mateo papers get new leader

Michael Gelbman, previously business development manager at the Contra Costa Times, is the new leader of the division of MediaNews Group papers that includes the Palo Alto Daily News and San Mateo County Times. The previous head of the division was Carole Leigh Hutton, who was named executive editor of the Mercury News on May 14. While Hutton was publisher, Gelbman will have the title of general manager of the community publishing division of the Bay Area News Group, including

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Court to rule on paper’s fight for salary data

The California Supreme Court this morning (May 30) heard arguments about whether the salaries of government employees should be public information. The case pits the Contra Costa Times, which has been fighting for the records, against public employee unions, who claim the data invades their members’ privacy. The court heard arguments today about a case in which the Coco Times requested the salaries of all Oakland city government workers who made more than $100,000 a year. The unions sued to

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Details about Goldberg’s exit from Merc

More details are emerging about Susan Goldberg’s decision to resign as executive editor of the Mercury News and take the same job at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As we reported yesterday (see below), Goldberg will be replaced by former Detroit Free Press editor and publisher Carole Leigh Hutton, currently head of the Palo Alto Daily News group for MediaNews. • Goldberg wasn’t present yesterday when her newsroom was told she was leaving, according to a story in this morning’s Merc. Managing

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Palo Alto paper to move office to Menlo Park

The Palo Alto Daily News plans to move out of its downtown Palo Alto home (seen here) and lease space in an office park in Menlo Park near Highway 101. If a deal is reached with owners of the office building at 255 Constitution Way in Menlo Park, the paper’s news and business operations would be centralized there on one floor, the Daily News said in today’s edition. Those functions are currently in two separate buildings in the same block

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Ad manager quits Palo Alto Daily News

Bruce Scannell, who came from the Chronicle to lead the Palo Alto Daily News sales staff, has resigned. Here’s the e-mail he sent to his sales staff the day he gave his two-week’s notice: Attention DNG Sellers and Others, In an effort to reach all of you at the same time, I am sending this email to announce that I will be leaving DNG to join a sales staff with a national publication – Investors Business Daily. The reason for

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Los Gatos laments loss of newspaper

A couple of years ago there was a newspaper war in Los Gatos, an upscale community of 28,000 west of San Jose. The hard-charging Los Gatos Daily News (led by Christina Bellantoni, now a Washington muckraker) was battling the equally independent Los Gatos Weekly Times. The San Jose Mercury News was trying to “out local the locals.” The three newsrooms battled for the hearts and minds of West Valley readers. That changed in 2005 when the Merc’s parent company, Knight

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Former Trib editor replaces Palo Alto editor

After 11 months on the job, Lucinda Ryan is being replaced as executive editor of the 55,000-circulation Palo Alto Daily News group by Mario Dianda (pictured), former editor of the Oakland Tribune. In January, Dianda was stripped of his job at the Oakland Trib and transferred by MediaNews to run the Pacifica Tribune, a weekly in San Mateo County. This is the first high-profile move by Carole Leigh Hutton, who replaced Shareef Dajaini as publisher at the MediaNews-owned Daily News

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Ex-Detroit publisher to head Daily News

Carole Leigh Hutton, former editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press, has been appointed publisher of the Palo Alto-based Daily News Group and vice president of California Newspapers Partnership (CNP), the company controlled by Dean Singleton’s MediaNews. Hutton replaces Shareef Dajani, who was publisher of the free daily newspaper chain for 12 months. Dajani will become CNP’s vice president of targeted publications, which include Jobs & Careers, Autofinder and Silicon Valley Homes. Hutton comes from news side of the

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New battle between dailies seen in SF

Blogger Alan Mutter, an editor turned venture capitalist, says that while the Chronicle’s circulation is plunging, the city now has two free dailies that have potential. There’s the Examiner, owned by billionaire Phil Anschutz, and earlier this month another daily started — called the San Francisco Daily. “The S.F. Daily, whose initial press run was a mere 5,000 copies, is noteworthy, because it is being produced by the publishing duo who built the Palo Alto Daily News into such a

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