AAN Amends Bylaws to Adapt to Changing Times

Amendments that give a more nuanced definition of what makes an alt-weekly an alt-weekly were adopted at the annual membership meeting of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Sunday.

Stricken from the bylaws was a clause stating that any applicant paper could not be owned by a daily newspaper publishing company or its affiliate. That clause had led to internal inconsistencies because an AAN member newsweekly acquired by a daily paper could remain a member while another newsweekly owned by the same daily was forbidden to apply for membership.

AAN members voted to replace the Admissions Committee with a Membership Committee. The new committee will not only evaluate the qualifications of applying papers; it will review membership following a newsweekly’s change of ownership.

No earlier than nine months and no later than 24 months after such an ownership change, the paper’s membership will have to be affirmed. If the paper receives affirmative votes of one third of more of the regular association members present at any annual meeting, it can remain in the association.

The ownership of the member paper must reflect and advance the values of the association by demonstrating the following;

  • Editorial independence and integrity
  • Ethical business practices
  • Competitive editorial and business environment, especially within local markets
  • A multiplicity and diversity of media voice
  • Independence from media conglomerates or other entities deemed detrimental to the interest of the alternative press and the maintenance of media diversity.

The membership defeated two friendly amendments aimed at increasing the percentage of votes needed to affirm membership of a paper that had changed hands, and the bylaw revisions were adopted as proposed.

Other bylaw amendments adopted on Sunday are intended to update procedures defined before the association had an office and staff.

Click here to see the amendments to the bylaws that were adopted on Sunday, along with comments describing each amendment.