Daily Cal Creates New Business Position

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The Daily Californian hired Matthew Wilson, formerly of The Marin Independent Journal, as interim publisher March 16 to help steer the newspaper toward financial sustainability.

While Wilson - who began work at The Daily Californian March 18 - will have no sway over the newspaper's editorial content, he will take control of the newspaper's business operations. Wilson will attempt to boost advertising revenue and pursue company-wide initiatives, including the newspaper's impending move out of Eshleman Hall, which is slated to be demolished in the upcoming years as part of the renovation of Lower Sproul Plaza.

"We need an industry professional like Matt to lead us in a really shaky time for journalism," said Rajesh Srinivasan, editor in chief and president of The Daily Californian.

Wilson's hiring is a significant move for the newspaper, as it has struggled in recent years with declining advertising revenue and an economic downturn that led to the elimination of Wednesday print production and the slashing of piecework pay for reporters in fall 2008.

Since then, the newspaper has hired several professional employees to help bolster advertising revenue, including an advertising manager in fall 2008 and a national advertising manager to solicit advertisements from national agencies in March 2010.

Wilson worked as both an editor and publisher at the Marin Independent Journal and prior to that served in several positions, including executive editor, at The San Francisco Chronicle.

According to Allen Matthews, chair of The Daily Californian's board of directors and assistant managing editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to focusing on advertising and sales, Wilson will play a role in fundraising for the newspaper, which is a nonprofit organization, improving relations with the campus and mitigating the high semesterly turnover in student advertising representatives, which has in part contributed to the newspaper's rocky financial situation.

Hiring a publisher will allow the former head of the newspaper's business operations, the general manager, to focus on short-term revenue generation while the publisher will focus on "long-term planning for the company," Srinivasan said.

While Wilson's employment is currently interim and will be reassessed at the end of the summer, the publisher position is permanent and will be refilled should Wilson leave.

Wilson said he read The Daily Californian as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and was "flattered" to be involved with the newspaper.

He said he hopes he can bring fresh eyes to help solve the newspaper's problems. He added that his background in journalism has instilled in him a commitment to journalistic independence "that the Daily Cal has embodied for more than 40 years and really throughout its ... history."

"That fundamental ethic I think informs everything that I've done, and I think the Daily Cal should do in its business dealings," he said.


Contact Mihir Zaveri at [email protected]

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