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New Community Operations Try to Fill Void in East Valley

After going on hiatus last August, the Sun Newspaper chain is officially dead. Attempts to sell the newspapers covering Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Encino fell through and former staff members moved on to other projects to bring local news to those communities. Sun co-founder Jim Kaplan joined up with ad salesperson Marci Marks to produce the Sherman Oaks-Studio City News starting last October. Kaplan also publishes Record Collector News, a bi-monthly for the vinyl record market. Former Sun editor Karen Young busied herself with freelance work while waiting for the Sun to re-emerge. When that failed to happen Young started My Daily Find, an online publication that went live last month. Rather than try to recreate the Sun in a different format or compete against the Kaplan and Marks publication and Daily News, Young calls My Daily Find an online magazine using professional writers to tell the stories of people left behind by other publications. “I am trying to get a sense of community and put a face to the people in the Valley,” said Young, who grew up in Granada Hills and now lives in Studio City. The My Daily Find website includes personality profiles, stories on city politics, schools, area not for profits; book and film reviews; and a children’s section. Young also sends out a daily newsletter teasing content at the website. While wanting the site to cover the entire Valley, Young is starting out with a focus on Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and North Hollywood. While the overall concept of the site is in place along with a staff of seasoned writers, what is not found at My Daily Find are any local ads. Young said she has met with potential advertisers but she wanted to have the site up and running before she approached them about taking out space. Where My Daily Find hasn’t scrimped is on the writing. Young didn’t want to use citizen journalists and instead rounded up professional writers, some of whom wrote for her at the Sun. These writers fit in with the site’s featurish bent that makes it read more like a magazine than an online newspaper. “I want it to be sophisticated and the writing to be sharp,” Young said. The Sherman Oaks-Studio City News, meanwhile, has a head start when it comes to advertising. When Marks and Kaplan started the paper last fall, it was 12 pages. Now they are up to 20 pages with plans in October to increase the frequency from once a month to twice a month. Publishing more often was driven by advertiser demand, Marks said, adding that the paper is getting better known. “We are connecting with community in a unique way that is contributing to our growth,” Marks said. The Sherman Oaks-Studio City News is distributed to 10,000 single-family homes south of Ventura Boulevard, a small area in Studio City north of Ventura, and at libraries in both areas. New Contract Voting members of the Southern California Media Guild at the Daily News approved a new two-year contract last month. According to DailyNews[room], a website for Guild members, the contract runs through 2011 but allows for the Guild to reopen negotiations on wages after 12 months. Negotiation between the bargaining committee and the Daily News went on for about three and a half months before the agreement was reached. The Daily News is owned by Denver-based Media News. Other MediaNews papers finalizing union agreements in 2009 include the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, and the San Jose Mercury News. Radio Awards KCLU AM/FM at California Lutheran University won seven awards at the 2009 Mark Twain Awards presentation on June 27 sponsored by the Associated Press Broadcasters Association. Station news director Lance Orozco won the Pat Davis Radio Reporter of the Year for the fifth year in a row. Orozco also won three additional awards: Best Radio Newswriting for a story on Ventura County fire dispatchers and firefighters helping parents save their newborn who had stopped breather; Best Use of Sound in a Feature Story, on the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Percussion Festival; and Best Sports Reporting for a report on the Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard. The station’s coverage of wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara County earned the Best Spot News and Best Coverage of an Ongoing Story. Orozco won a Twain Award for Best Live News Reporting for on-scene coverage of a wildfire threatening a Simi Valley neighborhood. The Associated Press Broadcasters Association includes California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Business Journal Wins Award The San Fernando Valley Business Journal received a gold award for best ancillary publication from the Alliance of Area Business Publications for its special biotech report. “Biotech: The Changing Face of the 101 Corridor” was included in the April 28, 2008 issue. The award was presented June 27 at the Alliance’s annual meeting taking place in Minneapolis. The awards selection committee praised the “real heft in reporting and presentation” of the special section. “Any single story in it could have been a front-page story in any newspaper in the country,” judges said. “The lack of a rah-rah tone is refreshing. Instead, it takes a deep, serious and somber look at the economic situation as it is, and what needs to change, and offers suggestions for how to get it done. The Dear Readers column sets the tone for this well-organized and thoughtful publication.” Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at mmadler@sfvbj.com . He contributed three stories to the award-winning biotech publication.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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