Breakdown for Berkeley Daily Planet

Berkeley newspaper to cease print publication

BERKELEY -- The Berkeley Daily Planet, founded in 1999 and plagued by financial problems over the past few years, will end its print publication at the end of the month. The Daily Planet will keep one reporter on staff and publish to the Web "when we can get the news," co-owner Becky O'Malley said.
She and husband Mike O'Malley took over the paper in April 2003 after a group of young investors folded the paper in late 2002. The pair of Berkeley computer software multimillionaires published twice a week until May 2008, when they scaled back print publication to Thursdays only. In an editorial today, the O'Malleys said they no longer can subsidize the newspaper.
"The only way to cut expenses further is to give up print publication for the moment," according to the O'Malleys' editorial. "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."
The last newspaper will be published Feb. 25, Becky O'Malley said. "You have to do what you have to do," she said in an interview today.
At least 120 U.S. newspapers have shut down since January 2008, and more than 21,000 jobs at 67 newspapers have been eliminated during that time, according to Paper Cuts, a Web site tracking the newspaper industry.
The O'Malleys bought the newspaper after running a successful software company in Berkeley for 15 years and "made more money than we ever expected to make, and so we said we should do something good with it," Becky O'Malley has said.
With advertising revenue down, the Daily Planet in May 2008 started the "fund for local reporting," asking readers to donate cash to keep the paper afloat. They also tried other alternatives to selling advertising in order to increase their revenue: freewill subscriptions, donation boxes, Web contributions and direct fundraising, Becky O'Malley said.
Last month, Artists for Change and others hosted a party that raised more than $10,000, she said. "Overall, at least 500 generous supporters all over the country have contributed more than $50,000 since we started asking for help," she said.

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