The Editor's Back Fence

Reading and Writing the Planet

Becky O'Malley
Thursday November 12, 2015 - 04:46:00 PM

Regular readers have surely noticed that the Berkeley Daily Planet has continued its transition from a not-quite-daily print newspaper (or news paper) into an irregularly updated journal, largely of opinion plus a bit of news from time to time.

We might use the slogan “A Free and Independent Non-Commercial Journal of Opinion and Occasional News” if we could remember how to add that much text to the masthead. We don't sell ads, but sometimes we post free ads for friends.

We have no reporters now—the “we” is mostly me, Becky O’Malley, with tech support, photography and kibitzing from Mike O’Malley. We get occasional regular news stories from Bay City News. Sometimes readers are moved to send us news pieces, and sometimes we get news in the form of press releases from reliable sources which we publish labelled as such. These news articles appear under the Page One heading.

Almost everything else is opinion. That includes the editorial and the brief Editor's Back Fence comments, as well as Columns (the regulars) and Public Comment (everyone else).

We are pleased, in another form of opinion, to have several faithful unpaid reviewers, who seem to work mostly for the joy of it and maybe the free tickets. Their work, along with previews of coming events, can be found under Arts and Events.

To submit an opinion for publication, send it to . You must supply your own real name to be published and provide a telephone number so I can verify authorship. I prefer Word .doc or .docx attachments or, if that’s not possible, unformatted text within an email—no .pdfs please, or fancy graphics.

I try to write a new editorial every week to post,usually, on Fridays, but the old one stays in place until I get around to writing a new one.

There’s a new issue date approximately weekly, usually on Friday. Using the buttons at the top left, you can click back through the series of Previous Issues, and a button appears for the Next Issue as soon as I start posting articles in it. When I've mostly finished posting, I click a button to "publish the latest issue", and then the Next Issue becomes the Current Issue, the one that appears whenever someone types into their browser.

Just to make things more confusing, when I add new articles on a daily basis between issues, they usually go into the Extra category on the top right of the front page of the Current Issue, often labelled “New” or “Updated”.

Those of you who find all this hard to follow can be Subscribers. All this means is that I’ll send you periodic email “Updates” containing links to all the new pieces, many of which will be sent on Fridays but also throughout the week if anything happens. There’s no charge for this simple service. Just email to get on the list. And to stop, just email

Submit news articles to Again, I prefer Word .doc or .docx attachments or text within the email if that’s not possible—no .pdfs.

My personal Planet email address is, for questions and not-for-publication comments.