Newport-Mesa Daily Voice Is Launched!
Yesterday evening, at a meeting of Speak Up Newport, former Daily Pilot honchos Tom Johnson and Bill Lobdell announced the launch of their new "hybrid" news publication, the Newport-Mesa Daily Voice.
EFFORTS TO BUY THE DAILY PILOT FAIL
Some will recall that this effort began as "Operation Local News", conceived to fill a perceived need in local news coverage as a result of the decline of the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and, to some extent, the Daily Pilot. According to Johnson, he and his team exhausted all efforts at locating funding to buy the Daily Pilot from the bankrupt Tribune Companies - their first choice. They apparently couldn't interest the bankruptcy court in entertaining their offer.
BARE BONES TO BEGIN
So, as of yesterday, they've launched this new endeavor with, in Johnson's words, "No large backers. No deep pockets. Just a group of us committed to providing Newport-Mesa with more local news, commentary and information at a time when many news organizations are folding up shop."
I'LL LINK TO THE SITE
I will carry the link to this new site over there on the right of this page - just below the Daily Pilot link. I thought that was an appropriate location since it appears that they are beginning life as an online aggregator - linking to other news sources as a springboard for their operation. Much of what they've linked to is directly from the Daily Pilot and its stable of bloggers.
VIEW THE VIDEOS
When you visit this new site - and I hope you will, early and often - you'll find some video clips from the meeting at Speak Up Newport, including seven minutes of Tom Johnson providing some perspective on the future of news presentation. You'll also hear his formal announcement of the launch of this new site.
You'll also hear Orange County Register Central Editor Paul Danison provide his view, including his opinion that the local market isn't big enough for three news outlets.
And, you'll hear Daily Pilot Editor Brady Rhoades respond to the new competition and give his views of the future. Each of these are worth a look.
A LEAP OF FAITH...
Times are tough financially everywhere, but particularly in the arena of trying to fund a new venture. Johnson and Lobdell have chosen to leap off this cliff without a parachute, assuming that "if we build it, they will come." They've signed up an exceptionally strong advertising team and have provided a way for the "little guy" to donate to the success of this venture.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
I don't know if this new venture will succeed. I think the Newport-Mesa needs and deserves to have it's stories covered professionally, whether we're talking about hard news, sports, or community events. For more than 100 years that role has been fulfilled by the Daily Pilot and it's predecessor publications. I have strong mixed emotions as I think about this new venture displacing the Daily Pilot and, perhaps, forcing it out of business. I'm not comfortable with that, but life is competition. I hope this new competition will further motivate the management of the Daily Pilot to do an even better job for it's readers.
THEY'RE OFF AND RUNNING
In any event, it's going to be very interesting to see just what impact the Newport-Mesa Daily Voice will have on our local news. My understanding is that they plan to publish a print version once or twice a week once they get off and running. We'll see...
BYRON'S ON BOARD
Apparently they have recruited my old pal, fellow blogger and multiple-tour Daily Pilot columnist, Byron de Arakal, as a feature columnist. If that works out, his contributions alone will be worth the price of admission.
Good luck to Tom Johnson, Bill Lobdell and the rest of their team. Life is going to be very interesting for them for awhile.