Online-Only Seal Beach Daily Calls It Quits

Foes of journalism, information dissemination and the written word will be happy to know it's not just behemoths like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register that are suffering. Nor is it solely the purveyors of reportage distributed via the printed page.

Seal Beach Daily, which launched as “an experiment in hyper-local community blogging” a year ago this month, will cease “publishing” on Nov. 30.

Criminy, is there no commercial-editorial model that is safe? Should we go back to investing in town criers? Without print or digital hyper-local news, how will gadflies occupy the hours they are not at city council speaker podiums?

Beats Donna Wares and Kate Cohen. Wares, a writer, editor and college lecturer who worked at the LA Times and Orange County Register, is editor and publisher of Seal Beach Daily, while her co-publisher Cohen, an artist, writer and web designer who also has the Register on her resume, also served as the site's producer. They started as “one of the new breed of hyper-local news websites–created by professional journalists, serving the community where we live and work.” They claim “the response has been tremendous in Seal Beach and far beyond.” Looking at the site right now, it's chock full of ads, content and links to other sources of local interest.

Maybe that response was too tremendous.



The attention they gave to Seal Beach, the publishers claim in a Dear John letter to readers, caused others in the media to pay more attention to their chunk of Orange County online. That apparently crowded out Seal Beach Daily. A Northwest Orange County community news page is included on the Register's revamped website, Cohen and Wares observe.
So, despite a warm reception and steady growth, in re-assessing where Seal Beach Daily was a year into its existence it was decided not enough income was being generated to afford the staff and other resources that would be needed to maintain its quality, especially against a much bigger player.

“This was not an easy call,” Cohen and Wares write. “We are devoted to our community. We loved and sweated SBD into existence and we do not let it go lightly, but we are guided by practical considerations, especially concerning our ability to go forward with a publication of the highest caliber.”

They suggest that after Nov. 30, their readers “contact the Register to let them know what you'd like to see covered in the community.”

The Register. How are things going over there again?

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