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Toward a Sustainable Planet

By Becky O'Malley
Thursday February 19, 2009 - 10:08:00 AM

What’s with the blank front page? readers may ask. Well, what local community papers like the Daily Planet have always done, which metropolitan dailies have never done, is report in depth on local news. The fine essay Ben Bagdikian contributed to the Planet about a year ago, reprinted below, explains why this is important for democracy.  

But the most expensive part of the Planet’s budget, about a third to a half of the total, is paying for local reporting: salaries, benefits, editing, overhead. As we’ve said repeatedly in recent issues, advertising is drying up, which is why we hope readers will become community partners in supporting the cost of having a paper in Berkeley.  

Today, readers can get a sense of what Berkeley would be like without the Planet’s local news when they see our blank front page. (Of course, we’ve cheated a bit—there’s local news on the inside pages.)  

We hope this will motivate you to contribute to the Planet’s new Fund for Local Reporting. We need your help to keep the paper going. It’s easy to do so online, by phone or by mail.  

We want to hear from you as we look for ways to stay in business—please reply to the survey in today’s paper (see Page Three) and tell us what you think.