Berkeley Daily Planet

Last updated
Berkeley Daily Planet
Type weekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
PublisherMichael O'Malley
EditorBecky O'Malley
FoundedApril 7, 1999
Ceased publicationMarch 2010 (print)
Headquarters3023A Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
United States

The Berkeley Daily Planet was a free weekly newspaper published in Berkeley, California, which continues today as an internet-based news publication.


The Daily Planet is politically progressive, and offers endorsements of progressive and liberal to left leaning candidates.

The Berkeley Daily Planet provides coverage of City Council meetings as well as other official city functions and commissions. The Planet distinguishes itself from other local news sources in its detailed coverage of local land use issues in the city.


The Berkeley Daily Planet was founded April 7, 1999 by a group of journalists and Stanford MBAs with funding from outside investors. [1] In September 2000, the Daily Planet's owners, doing business as Bigfoot Media, started a second free daily, the San Mateo Daily Journal .

On November 22, 2002, due to the soft Bay Area retail economy, the Berkeley Daily Planet suspended publishing temporarily. "Employees arrived at work this morning only to learn the newspaper's board of directors had decided to shutter the paper," the Daily Californian wrote in its November 22, 2002 issue. The Daily Cal noted that the Los Angeles Times speculated in January 2002 that the Daily Planet had not made a profit since its inception in 1999, a contention the owners said was not true.

On April 1, 2003, Becky and Michael O'Malley—described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "liberal Berkeley couple who are grandparents and longtime activists" [2] —began publishing the Berkeley Daily Planet again, but only twice a week, Tuesday and Friday. However, they kept the word "Daily" in the paper's name.

Since the O'Malleys restarted the Planet with Michael O'Malley as publisher, Becky O'Malley as executive editor and Michael Howerton as managing editor, it has won a number of awards from the California Newspaper Publishers' Association and other organizations, including first prizes for its opinion page, which publishes lengthy reader-written commentaries, and the editorial cartoons of Justin DeFreitas.

On February 4, 2010 the Planet broke a story that "", their own payroll firm, had conducted fraud. The firm had under-reported employee income to the IRS, and pocketed the difference in payroll tax.

In March, 2010, the Daily Planet ceased production of its print edition altogether, and since then it has been online only. Financial reasons were cited by its publishers. Almost from its inception the Daily Planet published an online version, in addition to its newsprint edition. The online archives go back to April 1, 2000.

Current owners

Becky O'Malley, the executive editor and opinion page editor, worked in the civil rights and anti-war movements in Ann Arbor in the 1960s and early 1970s. She was a reporter and editor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Pacific News Service in the late 1970s while attending law school. After passing the California Bar, she wrote articles for magazines, including The Nation and Mother Jones, and was on the staff of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Her husband Michael O'Malley, now the Planet's publisher, is a former faculty member in the University of California's computer science department whose primary research was in the field of text-to-speech conversion technology. The couple founded a company in the early 1980s, Berkeley Speech Technologies, which developed commercial text-to-speech software and hardware. They sold it to a Belgian speech technology corporation, Lernout & Hauspie, in 1996. After the speech company was sold, Becky O'Malley served on Berkeley's Landmarks Preservation Commission for 7 years, resigning after taking over the editor's job at the Planet.

Editorial controversies

O'Malley wrote in 2004 that the paper repeatedly was criticized for its position on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. [3] In August 2006, the paper published a letter, later characterized by some readers as an anti-Semitic diatribe, in the opinion section of the Planet. It was a response from an Iranian student living in India to Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and included his charge that Jews were to blame for the Holocaust. Two open letters containing criticisms were sent to Ms. O'Malley by local politicians and Jewish leaders and were published in the August 11th issue of the Daily Planet. [4]

Struggling financially in the bad economy, in early 2009 the Daily Planet published a full front page asking for donations, resulting in $12,000 in the first two weeks. [5] In March 2009 the paper ran a letter from the proprietor of Urban Ore reporting that a Jim Sinkinson, representing “East Bay Citizens for Journalistic Responsibility”, asked her to stop advertising there; she claimed that he misrepresented what the Planet had been publishing. [6] The paper subsequently printed "An Open Letter to Our Advertisers and Readers" to "clarify the policies of the paper, its overall mission, and the nature of this campaign of intimidation"; [7] Sinkinson denied pressuring or threatening advertisers. [8] The dispute was covered in The New York Times in November 2009. [9]


  1. Burress, Charles (March 26, 1999). "The Daily Planet It Is / Publishers hope Berkeley has space for new tabloid". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  2. Burress, Charles (April 2, 2003). "Berkeley Daily Planet rises again / Preservationist couple revive independent paper -- twice a week". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. Becky O'Malley, Editorial: Taking an Acrimony Break, Berkeley Daily Planet, Friday May 14, 2004.
  4. Johnson, Chip. "Why did Berkeley paper run anti-Jewish column?", San Francisco Chronicle , September 1, 2006.
  5. Alan Wang, Berkeley Daily Planet makes plea to readers Archived 2012-09-27 at the Wayback Machine , ABC News, March 9, 2009.
  6. Mary Lou Van Deventer, Reader Commentaries: Daily Planet Attacker Shoots Self in Foot, Berkeley Daily Planet, March 11, 2009.
  7. An Open Letter to Our Advertisers and Readers, Berkeley Daily Planet, March 18, 2009.
  8. Pazornik, Amanda (March 26, 2009). "Anti-Israel letters to Berkeley newspaper draw ire". J. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  9. McKinley, Jesse (November 27, 2009). "In a Home to Free Speech, a Paper Is Accused of Anti-Semitism". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2013.

Related Research Articles

Tabloid (newspaper format) Type of newspaper format

A tabloid is a newspaper with a compact page size smaller than broadsheet. There is no standard size for this newspaper format.

<i>The Daily Californian</i>

The Daily Californian is an independent, student-run newspaper that serves the University of California, Berkeley campus and its surrounding community. It publishes a print edition four days a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during the academic year, and twice a week during the summer. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, however, The Daily Californian has been publishing a print newspaper once a week on Thursdays. Established in 1871, The Daily Californian is one of the oldest newspapers on the West Coast, and one of the oldest college newspapers in the United States. Current circulation is about 10,000 for a campus of roughly 35,000 students.

Michael Lerner (rabbi)

Michael Lerner is an American political activist, the editor of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish interfaith magazine based in Berkeley, California, and the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley.

<i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> Newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay area

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.

<i>The Mercury News</i> Daily newspaper published in San Jose, California, US, since 1851

The Mercury News is a morning daily newspaper published in San Jose, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is published by the Bay Area News Group, a subsidiary of Digital First Media. As of March 2013, it was the fifth largest daily newspaper in the United States, with a daily circulation of 611,194. As of 2018, the paper has a circulation of 324,500 daily and 415,200 on Sundays.

<i>San Francisco Bay Guardian</i>

The San Francisco Bay Guardian was a free alternative newspaper published weekly in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1966 by Bruce B. Brugmann and his wife, Jean Dibble. The paper was shut down on October 14, 2014. It was relaunched in February 2016 as an online publication.

<i>Chicago Reader</i>

The Chicago Reader, or Reader, is an American alternative weekly newspaper in Chicago, Illinois, noted for its literary style of journalism and coverage of the arts, particularly film and theater. It was founded by a group of friends from Carleton College.

Free newspaper

Free newspapers are distributed free of charge, often in central places in cities and towns, on public transport, with other newspapers, or separately door-to-door. The revenues of such newspapers are based on advertising. They are published at different levels of frequencies, such as daily, weekly or monthly.

The Daily News, originally the Palo Alto Daily News, is a free newspaper owned by MediaNews Group and located in Menlo Park. It was formerly published seven days a week and at one point had a circulation of 67,000. The Daily News is distributed in red newspaper racks and in stores, coffee shops, restaurants, schools and major workplaces. As of April 7, 2009 the paper ceased to be published as The Palo Alto Daily News and was consolidated with other San Francisco Peninsula Daily News titles; it published five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday. Weekday editions were delivered to selected homes. While continuing to publish daily online, The Daily News cut its print edition back to three days a week in 2013, and one day a week in 2015.

Andrew Martinez American activist

Luis Andrew Martinez was an activist who was known at the University of California, Berkeley as the Naked Guy.

Media in the San Francisco Bay Area Overview of mass media in the San Francisco Bay Area

The media in the San Francisco Bay Area has historically focused on San Francisco but also includes two other major media centers, Oakland and San Jose. The Federal Communications Commission, Nielsen Media Research, and other similar media organizations treat the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area as one entire media market. The region hosts to one of the oldest radio stations in the United States still in existence, KCBS (AM) (740 kHz), founded by engineer Charles Herrold in 1909. As the home of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is also a technologically advanced and innovative region, with many companies involved with Internet media or influential websites.

Henry Norr

Henry Norr is an American technology journalist and activist. He was formerly a technology columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Examiner is a newspaper distributed in and around San Francisco, California, and published since 1863.

<i>San Francisco Express Times</i>

San Francisco Express Times was a counterculture tabloid underground newspaper edited by Marvin Garson and published weekly in San Francisco, California from January 24, 1968, to March 25, 1969, for a total of 62 issues, covering and promoting radical politics, rock music, arts and progressive culture in the Bay Area. It was a member of the Underground Press Syndicate, and sold for 15 cents.

Max Scherr was an American underground newspaper editor and publisher known for his iconoclastic 1960s weekly, the Berkeley Barb.

John Charles Bryan was an American newspaper publisher, editor, and journalist best known for founding and running the Los Angeles alternative newspaper Open City. He also published the San Francisco-based Open City Press and the Sunday Paper. In 1981, the San Francisco Chronicle called Bryan "The King of the Underground Press." Warren Hinckle of the Chronicle called Bryan a "one-man-newspaper newspaperman," noting that his apartment was crammed with printing equipment. Paul Krassner said that Bryan was a journalist in the tradition of I.F. Stone.

<i>San Francisco Sentinel</i> LGBT online newspaper in California

The San Francisco Sentinel is an online newspaper serving the LGBT communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally a weekly print periodical, the Sentinel covers local San Francisco politics, news and social events, and international news of interest to the gay community.

Free Speech Movement

The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a massive, long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The Movement was informally under the central leadership of Berkeley graduate student Mario Savio. Other student leaders include Jack Weinberg, Michael Rossman, George Barton, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Michael Teal, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and others.

<i>Idyllwild Town Crier</i>

The Idyllwild Town Crier is a local weekly newspaper published out of Idyllwild, California. The Town Crier serves the area of the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, California. The current owner-operators are Becky Clark and Jack Clark. The paper was founded in 1946 by husband and wife Ernie and Betty Maxwell, and was originally published from the Maxwell's house during its first few years.

<i>Viet Mercury</i>

Viet Mercury was a Vietnamese-language newspaper serving the Vietnamese American community in San Jose and the surrounding Silicon Valley area in California. It was published weekly by the San Jose Mercury News from 1999 to 2005; it also published daily for a time. It was the first Vietnamese-language newspaper published by an English-language daily, as well as the first non-Hispanic ethnic newspaper published by a major American company. Along with the Spanish-language Nuevo Mundo, it was one of two non-English weekly newspapers published by the Mercury News.