AAN Editors Play Musical Chairs

Barber Leaving Free Times; Harkavy Takes Job With Long Island Voice.

Cindy Barber’s departure from Stern Publishing’s Cleveland Free Times is one of the many changes taking place inside AAN newsrooms as ’98 winds down.

Barber, the Cleveland native who had worked at the Free Times since the paper was launched in 1992, ended her stint as editor on Nov. 20. She was replaced by former Colorado Springs Independent Editor Tom Vasich. It is a homecoming of sorts for Vasich, who served as an editor at Stern’s OC Weekly before taking the top job in Colorado Springs.

(The Independent is presently seeking a replacement for Vasich.)

Barber says that her exit was “a mutual agreement” with Stern, which owns a total of seven newsweeklies, including the Village Voice and LA Weekly.

“Part of [my leaving] is that I just need a break,” Barber says. “I’ve been here six years and it’s been a lot of work.”

While her immediate plans include working as a Free Times senior contributor, her next major career move is still unclear.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do next,” she says. “Let’s just say I’m looking at different possibilities.”

Barber wouldn’t say who first suggested that she step down. However, one source familiar with the situation says the move was initiated inside Stern corporate headquarters in New York City.

Stern President David Schneiderman has a policy of not commenting on personnel changes, according to company spokesperson Alissa Neil.

Free Times Publisher Randy Siegel also declined to comment.

A second masthead change involves another Stern-owned property.The Long Island Voice filled its newly-created managing editor slot by hiring Ward Harkavy, who joined Stern’s newest offspring on Nov. 19.

Harkavy arrives in Long Island after more than 11 years with New Times, Inc., where he spent six years in Denver as Westword’s associate editor and five years in Phoenix with the company’s flagship paper.

Westword Editor Patty Calhoun has yet to hire Harkavy’s replacement.

“I’m still looking,” says Calhoun. “So if anyone wants to throw their hat into the ring”

Washington City Paper Editor David Carr is also in the hiring mode. Carr needs to fill the senior editor’s position being vacated by Eric Wemple, who has held the job for three years.

Wemple will remain with the paper, according to Carr, toiling in a yet-to-be-disclosed capacity. “Eric is leaving [his senior editor post],” he says, “for another top secret assignment within Washington City Paper.”

The Chico News & Review has also been seeking to fill a vacancy since Arts Editor Geoff Earl left in early November.

Chico N & R Editor Joe Martin says, “We’d like to fill it as soon as possible.” However, he also says precision and waiting for the right person are more important than simply getting it filled fast.

Lastly, the Bloomington Independent has recently shuffled some of the names atop its masthead: Lisa Sorg, an Independent staff writer for the last year and a half, has been elevated to managing editor; Arno Holshuh, a recent Indiana University grad, is the paper’s new writer; and Fine Arts Editor Jim Poyser moved north to NUVO Newsweekly in Indianapolis and has been replaced by Cynthia Wolfe.