Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Berkeley Daily Planet tries to live up to its name

By kbender
Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 12:52 pm in Uncategorized.

The Berkeley Daily Planet, which is neither daily nor covers the planet, has scaled down the print edition from two days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) to one day a week, producing a newspaper on Thursdays. But readers can find breaking news, feature stories, columns and opinion pieces each weekday at www.berkeleydailyplanet.com.

Reporters and photographers will also post to the Web on the weekends if anything “big” happens, according to Becky O’ Malley, who has owned the paper for five years with her husband Mike. The reasons for moving to the Web five days a week and cutting back the print edition were two-fold. “This way we can try the Web and see what happens without adding new people,” said O’ Malley.

O’Malley said the couple chose to publish on Thursdays to give people time to check out the weekend happenings and make their plans accordingly. Most of what’s posted on the Web during the week will also show up in print, O’Malley said. The O’Malleys bought the newspaper after running a successful software company in Berkeley for 15 years, she said. “We made more money than we ever expected to make and so we said we should do something good with it,” she said during a recent interview.

The Daily Planet, once owned by publisher Arnold Lee, and Stanford MBA grads Dave Danforth and Ed Carse, had folded in November 2002 when the O’Malleys took over and gave it a go. “I was playing around with starting a Web-based paper and then this came up and we had been readers of the original Planet,” she said. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in comparative literature, O’Malley said she had written for and edited various publications before going to law school.

After passing the bar exam, she toyed with the idea of practicing law, but journalism seemed more entertaining. She continued writing, for Mother Jones, the Nation, New West and other pubs, she said.. Then came the software company and its success. Although the Berkeley Daily Planet has been in operation under the O’Malley’s leadership since 2003, its new form on the Web is really the first time the publication is living up to its name. Now, the paper just needs to start really covering the planet.

“Well, we might,” said O’Malley “We have lots of people who would like to be writing about international issues. We might have dispatches from Iraq.”

Kristin Bender

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One Response to “Berkeley Daily Planet tries to live up to its name”

  1. Becky O'Malley Says:

    Nice piece, Kristin, thanks. I just ran across it tonight.

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