June 15, 2009--It was alleged by a June 11 writer, and implied by the Berkeley Daily Planet itself, that someone stole copies of the June 4 edition from newsstands. That is the issue which condemned this website. We threaten the Berkeley Daily Planet with nothing more powerful than our word processor. We would never steal Becky’s papers and would immediately report it to the police if we learned of anything illegal being done on our behalf.
That said, we may be able to throw some light on the mystery. We have intended to do some survey work trying to answer with specificity the question of who reads the Daily Planet, and why (for the funnies, for the calendar of events, etc.). We had intended to move on to some person-on-the-street questionnaires. We suspended our efforts when O’Malley announce that the Berkeley Daily Planet would eliminate street racks, start charging (actually, start asking for love offerings), and presumably greatly reduce the print run. We figured that we might as well wait until the new regimen was in place. However, before suspending the effort, we had gone around North Berkeley counting copies very early on a Thursday morning (6:30-7:30, May 14, 2009), just after the papers had been dropped off. We counted 610 papers in 15 boxes. That is an average of 44 per box. Most boxes were 18 inches tall. Were the boxes full they would have contained 147 copies. Therefore, the boxes started the week at a mere 29.7% of capacity.
In summary, most readers may not be aware that the Daily Planet, no doubt in response to slackening demand, seems to have cut way back on its print run.