AAN Elects New President, Fills Ten Board Seats

At the annual meeting of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies on Saturday, June 27, Willamette Week‘s Mark Zusman was elected the association’s new president. He succeeds Metroland‘s Stephen Leon, who will take the advisory role of Immediate Past President.

The membership voted on nine other board seats on Saturday, including two that were created just minutes earlier when AAN’s bylaws were amended. The amendment, which was recommended by the board of directors and approved unanimously in a voice vote, replaced the Classified Advertising chair and the Organization/Bylaws chair with a Electronic Publishing chair and an additional At-Large seat. The duties of the Classifieds chair will be absorbed by the Advertising Chair (formerly called the Display Advertising Chair), and the Organization/Bylaws committee will now be headed by the Vice President.

The board seats were filled by a mixture of some familiar faces who extended their terms as well as six people who are joining the board for the first time.

The Vice President’s seat was the second to be voted on after President. Colorado Springs Independent CEO Fran Zankowski and Weekly Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence were nominated for the seat, and they both spoke on behalf of their candidacies before the membership voted to make Zankowski the new VP.

With his ascension to Vice President, Zankowski abdicated the one year remaining in his two-year term as Treasurer. Memphis Flyer publisher and former board president Kenneth Neill, who had previously announced his intention to run for the seat, stood up and nominated Isthmus creative director Ellen Meany instead. Neill said he originally agreed to the assignment out of a sense of obligation and compared it to a “sharp stick in the eye,” so when he learned of Meany’s interest he ceded the field to her. Meany ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation.

Meany vacated the one year remaining in her term as Design & Production chair to run for Treasurer, and after her election she nominated Portico Publications president and group publisher Steve Delgado to replace her. Delgado also ran unopposed and was elected unanimously by voice vote.

Two additional board seats featured competitive races.

Three candidates were nominated for the newly created Electronic Publishing chair: Village Voice Media’s Bill Jensen, Jackson Free Press‘ Todd Stauffer and Maui Time Weekly‘s Tommy Russo. in their “campaign” speeches to the assembly, all three stressed that the other candidates would make able chairs and said they were glad that AAN had taken the step to create this board position. Jensen was elected the new Electronic Publishing chair on a closed ballot.

Three other candidates vied for the two At-Large seats that were open: Margaret Downing of the Houston Press, Sally Freeman of Boise Weekly and Josh Schuler of NUVO. After a brief interruption to determine whether the two seats should be voted on together or on separate ballots, members settled on the latter and elected Downing and Freeman to the two At-Large positions.

Two additional seats on the board were uncontested. Incumbent Tim Redmond of the San Francisco Bay Guardian was re-elected First Amendment chair, and the Santa Fe Reporter‘s Julia Goldberg was elected Editorial chair. Goldberg, Delgado, Downing, Freeman, Jensen and the new convention chair will all be serving on the board for the first time.

With so much new blood being brought in, the Board also lost several members who had served for many years. At-Large member Mark Bartel (City Pages), Organization/Bylaws chair Bill Bleakley (Oklahoma Gazette), Editorial chair Patricia Calhoun (Westword) and Classified Advertising chair Robby Robbins (Santa Barbara Independent) were thanked for their service, and received warm rounds of applause from members of the assembly.

Departing Convention chair Tom Lee and his Tucson Weekly staff were thanked for being gracious hosts and for putting on a great convention. Lee’s replacement on the board, NOW Magazine‘s Michael Hollett, was elected by acclamation on a round of Canadian-sounding ehs instead of ayes. As host of the 2010 AAN Convention, Hollett and his compatriots in Toronto can look forward to twelve full months of good-natured ribbing by their AAN colleagues south of the border, despite the fact that many of them had considered applying for Canadian citizenship during the eight long years of the Bush regime.

Also receiving a hand from the crowd was former Boston Phoenix senior managing editor and former board president Clif Garboden, who was on hand at this year’s convention despite being laid off by the Phoenix this spring. Garboden was thanked for his service to AAN and received a standing ovation.

Leave a Reply