229755030_ad34424785-1So, as you may or may not know, we here at the Clog are actually part of the Daily Cal: consider us the bratty back-talking teenage child of our older, wiser, drier parental.  As much as we’d like to pretend we know it all (and we’re not refuting this), we still need a news source to actually build all of our snarky brilliance upon. That’s right, even the indie tee-wearing teen with copious amounts of piercings who listens to underground techno on over-sized headphones eventually goes back to his parents to ask for money.

So basically that ubiquitous “Journalism is a failing industry” line that we’ve been hearing around kind of concerns us. Not enough to actually stop us from making fun of the industry or those who suffer because of it, of course, but hey, showing a gesture of concern is about as best as you’re going to get from us here at the Clog. And it seems that every publication has been affected, including our less attractive counterpart, the Berkeley Daily Planet.

In a recent editorial, the Planet broke down for us all of its financial funding issues and all but got down on its hands and knees begging us to become contributors to its “Fund for Local Reporting,” a personal contribution system a la NPR, where sponsors are listed and recognized for their generosity. They also suggested a form of “Community Supported Journalism,” along the lines of “Community Supported Agriculture.” Say what?

The article also defines bottom feeders like us as “aggregators,” the kind of snarky sites that gather up news reported elsewhere and repackage it that many are finding preferable to other news sites. But if  news sources are on the decline, where will aggregators like us turn for material?

Image Source: two stout monks under Creative Commons
Community-Supported Journalism: Is It Sustainable? [Berkeley Daily Planet]

Eric said:
Feb 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

The Berkeley Daily planet is an anti-housing, anti-transit, cantankerous rag. Why should the community support a publication that has has actively sought to obstruct Berkeley’s betterment with its pseudo-journalistic bloviations? The sooner it folds, the better–good riddance to it.

Pat Bateman said:
Feb 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Biased criticism is still better than no criticism, and if the Daily Planet folds, then we’ll lose a critic of city policies, which is a loss. It’s always a loss when a voice is silenced.

Who will keep the Daily Cal accountable if the Berkeley Daily Planet folds? The Berkeley section of Contra Costa Times? Ha.

Anyone who gloats over the demise of the Daily Planet is short-sighted.

On another note, O’Malley makes a good point about the decline of print journalism in a beautiful analogy: “Old water in new bottles—but what will we do when the well runs dry?”

Beetle said:
Feb 3, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Given the Daily Cal’s rent situation, I dunno if this post’s attitude is really on point. The Daily Planet’s attitude is refreshingly straightforward in comparison, while the Daily Cal is at the mercy of a specific entity it covers on a regular basis without disclosing the conflict of interest.

Jack said:
Feb 4, 2009 at 9:38 am

I suppose the Daily Planet is learning what the big papers have known all along: If you do nothing but bash businesses, those businesses won’t give you their advertising dollars.

Eric said:
Feb 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

In the event of the Planet’s discontinuation, local critics, from both within and without the paper’s staff and contributors, will continue to have ample opportunity to express and make public their criticisms. They will just no longer have a local newspaper with which to thinly veil themselves as some sort of vox populi.

To gloat over the demise of local papers in general would be short sighted; but the Planet’s tendency towards obfuscation rather than illumination negates whatever value it retained. Rather than flattering itself by blaming aggregators, maybe the Planet should consider making itself a provider of objective news and information, rather than the personal mouthpiece of its chief editor.

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