Number of applications up 50% from last year.
Eighteen alternative papers threw caution to the wind earlier this month, submitting themselves to the mercy of that severe tribunal known as the AAN Admissions Committee. This brave collection of publishers, who seek entry to the distinguished ranks of AAN membership, form a group that is 50% larger than last year’s applicant pool of a dozen papers.
Perhaps the most surprising applicant is The Georgia Straight, which for years has been the largest alternative weekly in North America that is not a member of AAN. The paper has been publishing in Vancouver, B.C. for 34 years and now has a weekly circulation of 116,000.
Some also may be surprised to learn that there is an alternative paper in Beverly Hills, but this year’s batch of applications holds the proof: Beverly Hills Weekly claim they’ve been publishing such a thing since 1999.
Several other applying papers have familiar ties: Champaign, Illinois’ The Octopus, which is published by Yesse! Communications, the owner of three AAN papers in the Midwest; Pasadena Weekly, a paper that Ventura County Reporter acquired last year from the Los Angeles Times; and Omaha Weekly, whose publisher, John Heaston, was an active member of AAN when he was editor of the Omaha Reader.
For the next two months, members of the Admissions Committee will score the contenders and record the results on a worksheet developed by committee chairperson Clif Garboden, senior managing editor of the Phoenix Newspaper Group. The worksheet standardizes the evaluation process by providing a list of criteria to measure each applicant. The 11-person committee will complete its work on Wednesday, June 11, during a meeting at the 24th annual AAN convention in New Orleans. Its recommendations will be published two days later in the second issue of this year’s AAN News convention daily.
The applicants’ fate will be decided when AAN members cast their votes on Saturday, July 14, the final day of the convention.
Here is a list of the 18 applying papers:
Beverly Hills Weekly
Boston’s Weekly Dig
Free Times (Columbia, SC)
The Georgia Straight (Vancouver, British Columbia)
The Local Planet (Spokane, Wash.)
Maui Time (Lahaina, Hawaii)
New York Resident (Manhattan)
The Octopus (Champaign, Ill.)
Our City (Clarksville, Tenn.)
Outlook News (Columbus, Ohio)
Planet Weekly (Jackson, Miss.)
RipSaw News (Duluth, Minn.)
The Source (Bend, Ore.)
Toledo City Paper
TriCityNews (Asbury Park, NJ)
Up & Coming Magazine (Fayetteville, NC)