AAN Members Approve Name Change, Elect Zankowski As President

At the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual meeting on Saturday, July 23 in New Orleans, members voted unanimously to change the organization’s name to Association of Alternative Newsmedia. The association also elected Colorado Springs Independent CEO Fran Zankowski as President and admitted its first online-only publication: The American Independent News Network.

The name change proposal was presented to members by AAN Marketing Chair and Boston’s Weekly Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence.

“Times change, and so does our name,” said incoming President Zankowski. “This year, a 100% web-only news network became a member of our association. And, with the increasing number of apps, digital, mobile, and web platforms our companies use, it was time to reflect those changes in our name. It doesn’t change the nature of our association. Our members still create the best editorial content with the best journalists in the country. It’s just that we now appear in multiple media.”

Zankowski was elected by acclamation to succeed Willamette Week editor Mark Zusman as President. Zusman will remain on the Board of Directors in the advisory role of Immediate Past President.

Arkansas Times publisher Alan Leveritt was elected to succeed Zankowski as Vice President.

There were seven additional Board seats up for election:

  • Advertising Chair: Blair Barna (Charleston City Paper) was re-elected to the seat he’s held since 2009.
  • Editorial Chair: Anne Schindler (Folio Weekly) was elected to take over the seat left vacant by the departure of Julia Goldberg (Santa Fe Reporter) in April.
  • Digital Chair: Molly Willmott (The Memphis Flyer) was voted in to the seat previously held by Bill Jensen (Village Voice Media).
  • Free Speech Chair: Bradley Zeve (Monterey County Weekly) was elected to the seat previously held by Tim Redmond (San Francisco Bay Guardian).
  • Amy Austin (Washington City Paper) was re-elected to an At-Large seat.
  • Chuck Strouse (Miami New Times) was elected to an At-Large seat previously held by Carly Carioli (Boston Phoenix).
  • The host of next year’s convention, Chris Sexson of Metro Times in Detroit, was elected as Convention Chair.

All seats on the Board of Directors carry two-year terms, with the exception of Convention Chair, which is a one-year term.

Membership Applications

AAN members also voted on the membership applications of four publications: The American Independent News Network, Dayton City Paper, Desert Valley Star, and Frontiers. Only one publication — The American Independent News Network — received the two-thirds votes necessary to gain admission to AAN.

The American Independent News Network — which operates news sites in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington state — becomes AAN’s first online-only member. AAN members voted to open the door to online-only publications at last year’s annual meeting in Toronto.