Legitimizing the Planet

A few month's ago the Daily Planet (@DailyPlanetDC) attempted to reach out to DC Comics and Warner Media. Our intentions were to be published under the umbrella of DC Comics, turning the Planet into a legitimately reputable news source. Even though we've received no word back, we stand undeterred and more determined than ever. The following is our pitch, our plans and everything in-between.

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When I started @DailyPlanetDC in February 2014, I had no idea it would grow into what it is today.

As an avid Superman fan I’ve been inspired by the Daily Planet for as long as I can remember. Growing up with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), hiding in the closet in an otherwise historically conservative environment, and living a simple life on a family farm was difficult and lonely.

I had family and a few friends but I felt as if I could never be my true self. Within the pages of DC Comics, the Daily Planet (and by extension, Metropolis) seemed like a very welcoming and open environment. It was a safe haven for self discovery and determination, not to mention the Planet building was beautiful and inspirational. Something about a giant globe crowning the rooftop of an Art Deco masterpiece always left me breathless.

That building was filled with truth tellers and kind-hearted characters. Don’t get me wrong, there were some bullies, but their attitudes weren’t tolerated for long. What I’m trying to say is I always saw the Planet as a place for self expression –– a place where one can focus on their career in a nonjudgmental environment. I so desperately craved to be a part of it.

So, in 2014, I started a Twitter page inspired by this haven of heroes. I began collecting news from role-players but found that chronicling actual events was way more beneficial to both the Planet and myself.

Soon the page grew and retained thousands of followers. @DailyPlanetDC expanded from Twitter to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Daily Planet launched dailyplanetdc.com in 2018 and started taking work from dedicated, outside contributors. Talent that needed to be recognized was. I hoped to achieve one thing in creating these social accounts, websites and online editions: Making the Daily Planet a reality.

I now realize I’ve achieved this –– at least to some extent. With over 20 current continuous collaborators, contributors and artists, the Planet produces daily online content. It is my dream to turn this passion into a career. Much like our source of inspiration, DC Comics’ Daily Planet, @DailyPlanetDC prides itself on journalistic integrity. We strive to tell meaningful stories in ways only limited by the authors’ imagination. We’re an open-minded publication that welcomes growth through collaboration.

The Daily Planet is a trademarked work featured in Superman titles. I acknowledge that I do not own the rights to the name but would love to continue to create work with this passion project.

@DailyPlanetDC is a nonprofit news organization inspired by DC Comics. We hope to help inform the world in order to make it a better place. All of our writers and content contributors are volunteers from across the globe with a passion for comics, writing, news and entertainment.

The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for me. It’s my life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. We’re a voice for the people by the people. The Daily Planet is currently a nonprofit multimedia news organization. We do not collect any form of income.

Our mission is to one day become a legitimate news organization. We’re currently striving for this goal while simultaneously providing an outlet for people to use their voice. We also hope to cater to those looking to build their portfolios with experience in journalism, design and more.

We cover a variety of topics while maintaining unbiased reports with facts, statements and respectable sources. We are a U.S. based publication designed to cater to the planetary audience of the 21st century, with over 22,000 subscribers planet wide (about half are international) while recognizing our journalistic roots. Besides online, we publish a weekly digital newspaper, a digital magazine every fall and spring and also occasionally collaborate with a variety of podcasts.

Due to the official copyright beignet owned by DC, our content creators can’t be paid for their work. I’ve been working diligently on changing that, but in the meantime, contributors look at this as a nice way to build their resumés for future career goals.

Recognizing the talent that orbits around the Planet, I constantly add to an ever-growing list for possible staff who I would reach out to when we grow into a reality.

With all that being said, here’s our official mission statement:

“The Daily Planet is where heroes are born and the story continues. The world’s greatest stories start here. Reporting on the planet daily.”

What this means is that we recognize our roots of inspiration and hold onto the ideals of journalism while identifying the responsibility. Our articles reach across the globe, informing many. We don’t take that lightly.

My goals for this project are simple: It is my hope to bring the Daily Planet forth from the pages of DC Comics into the realm of reality. I want to legitimize the publication so it can be a major contender in the multimedia news market.

I want the Daily Planet to be a self sustaining entity in order to retain its independence and constitute its journalistic ethical code while remaining unbiased. This means it would not be a public relations style publication even though it’d be a subsidiary of Warner Media.


Social media

The Daily Planet pushes all posts, updates and content to various social media channels.

@DailyPlanetDC is an “unofficial” handle for the Daily Planet in the real world. It’s very interactive, allowing outside work to be published on a variety of social media feeds accumulating over 20,000 followers.


Website

In October 2018, during my attendance at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I started a website centered around @DailyPlanetDC for my Journalism Toolbox class.

Modeled after the Daily Planet appearing in comics and movies, the website’s appearance is structured to look similar.

Interaction increased and contributed works started pouring in, articles gained traction and the Planet’s potential multiplied ten-fold.

Artists, writers, videographers, podcasters and every other creator on the planet was welcomed to join an already accepting team and community. A large audience recognizes the Daily Planet’s work, and publishing with us is an excellent way for creators to grow their portfolios for future career goals.

Various Website Categories

» News
» Comics
» The Planet » Culture
» About
» Print

The Daily Planet has six major website categories with around 40 subcategories. We publish ethical, unbiased articles filled with factual documentation and quotes that capture the voices of those impacted the most. Our top two categories are news and culture, exemplifying the need for coverage in both mentioned subjects.

The website is modern, sleek and always updating.


Online Edition

The Daily Planet proudly produces an online edition as often as possible. Learning the evolution of these digitized newspapers coincides with understanding the story of @DailyPlanetDC.

When @DailyPlanetDC launched on Twitter in February 2014, its username was @Benz_Daily.

Online editions had its start at the dawn of this new digitized Daily Planet. I created these digital newspapers using smartphones and tablets, along with other means. I would originally write the story in my notes on my iPhone, capture a screenshot and then lay out the notes to form a digital newspaper — these were originally called e- editions.

Over time, these grew more involved, drawing source inspiration from numerous outlets. Guest contributions were often accepted as well. Our digital editions assisted in paving the way for the website. They are published semi-regularly on almost all of our online platforms.

Originally, e-edition’s had no structured layout. Designs coincided with the amount of content produced. Our first volume of issues saw a multitude of headlines ranging from social media role play interviews (accounts portraying pop culture icons) to breaking news reports from hit shows and movies. A number of articles were also based in reality and our first full-fledged interview with an advocacy group took place.

2015 was a time of great expansion for the Daily Planet and our e-editions are responsible for a majority of that success. Guest content contributors began producing for us, interviews were landed and a more recognizable layout was established.

2016 saw the “Dawn of Justice” and the start of @DailyPlanetDC. Due to exceeding recognition, our name change wasn’t too difficult to process. We wanted our username to be as indistinguishable as our source of inspiration, DC Comics’ Daily Planet.

Our e-editions also adapted to this philosophy and morphed into something “straight from the source.”

2017 saw a massive influx of e-editions as more outside contributions flowed in. Most of this year’s articles were fiction-based, centered around the DC Extended Universe.

2018 was a more mellow year for @DailyPlanetDC, only three issues were created. This was the year the “e-editions’” title transitioned into “online editions.” Our website also launched in 2018. Over all, there have been around 300 issues produced.


Magazine

The Daily Planet Magazine is a bi-annual digital publication. In an effort to bring the Planet into the modern era, we are focusing on online coverage. Our magazines will be published mainly online.

Inspired by CatCo, our magazines were first introduced on the 80th anniversary of the Daily Planet’s appearance (April 2020).

The Daily Planet Magazine is a visual first, modern publication constantly evolving to bring impactful stories to life.

There’s generally no centered theme for each magazine and topics can vary with each issue. Our last issue had nearly 1,000 views and downloads.


Code of ethics

All reputable news sources possess a structured code of ethics that provides a functional flow for appropriate reporting.

Our 10+ page code of ethics is available for everyone online and is updated at least once a year.


Possible Headquarters

Like the Daily Planet in comics, our goal is to house our headquarters in a beautifully adorned building crowned by an enormous golden globe.

This is the last step in my mind. However, I do think it would greatly benefit the paper and DC Comics. The structure can be used as a filming location for future DC titles, it can serve as a major tourist destination and it can house a variety of rentable offices and floors.

A Superman/DC museum could also be housed here, along with notable chain restaurants and coffee venues. A new building could be erected, but I’d prefer to utilize a current structure to save on costs. I’ve looked into possibilities but, like I said, this is the last thing I’m concerned about.

Possible locations for this structure include, but are not limited to Metropolis, IL; Minneapolis, MN and Vancouver, BC.


Future Goals

My goals for this project are simple: It is my hope to bring the Daily Planet forth from the pages of DC Comics into the realm of reality. I want to legitimize the publication so it can be a major contender in the multimedia news market.

I want the Daily Planet to be a self sustaining entity in order to retain its independence and constitute its journalistic ethical code while remaining unbiased. This means it would not be a public relations style publication even though it’d be a subsidiary of Warner Media.

Financing

In order to retain self sustainability, I’d need authorization for advertising. Like any news source in the world, survival hinders on ads. I have refused collaborative offers, monetary benefits and any other form of monetization so far due to copyright being officially owned by DC Comics.

Staffing

It’s my dream to work at the Daily Planet and I would love to make a living from this entrepreneurial enterprise. I’d also like to operate like a legitimate news source with a full paid staff and freelance opportunities. I recognize that the team would have to start out small, but I know we would continue to grow with more opportunities for talented individuals in the future.

I’d also like to create custom merchandise, sell future print publications and more. Basically, whatever the Planet makes goes to the publication, with a percentage possibly going to DC Comics as well.

As far as productivity plans go, I plan to generate a multitude of multimedia content with a team as passionate as myself.

Print

Currently, the Daily Planet’s main objective is to publish digital first. In the 21st century, digitally operating as a multimedia platform is essential for growth and security. However, if the opportunity does arise, the Planet would publish print magazines and daily newspapers.

Currently, @DailyPlanetDC publishes a semi-regular online newspaper and a biannual digital magazine. Both “print” publications have seen requests for physical copies.

Partnering with other news outlets

There is no doubt that the pandemic has altered the world forever. Shutdowns and closings have become a regular thing and the same can be said about local newspapers and networks around the globe.

In an effort to turn this Daily Planet into the internationally recognized news organization from DC Comics, I’d network with these struggling news outlets and crowdsource articles for the Daily Planet from them. They’d have permission to publish our work, and we’d be granted the same rights in return. This would perpetuate potential growth, ensure future news coverage and secure a necessary component to democracy.

YouTube Channel & Socials

In today’s world, social media channels are the newsstand where articles, information and news are digested the most. A YouTube channel would provide a needed visual component and generate content to younger generations.

I’d also like to grow into other major social media networks and constantly remain on top of notable trends.

Podcast & Radio

Podcasts play an integral role in the world of journalism. It’s a necessary need for 21st century news. One example would be “The New York Times” podcast, “The Daily.”

I’d also like to produce other various forms of podcast series if an idea arises.

Radio channels are important because they provide free entertainment and needed information to the public. Radio networking also equips the Planet with the responsibility of breaking emergency news broadcasts.

The Daily Planet Building

The Daily Planet Building. How could anyone gaze at its familiar ringed globe and not be moved? This fictional building, the publication it shelters and the characters it houses has inspired me in so many ways.

If the Daily Planet becomes a reality, I hope the intended headquarters would become a hub of information, community and tourism. Future entertainment projects can utilize the space as well.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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