AAN Statement Re Consent Decree Signed By VVM and NTM


January 27, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Executive Director of a trade association with members as diverse and opinionated as ours, I can make no direct comment on the consent decree signed this weekend by two of our corporate members or the propriety of the arrangement that closed Cleveland Free Times and New Times Los Angeles. However, the government’s interest in the two papers clearly demonstrates the valuable service they provided in their respective communities and is a validation of the vital role of alternative newsweeklies everywhere.

It should surprise no one that our member papers are businesses that strive to be successful, as any business must. ?Alternative? in the context of the alternative newsweekly industry means that our papers provide an alternative voice to that of the mainstream media. It does not mean that the owners of our papers operate in an alternative economic universe, where paying salaries and generating profits are not important.

Furthermore, in sharp contrast to the mainstream media, where many of the most powerful institutions are owned by huge publicly traded corporations, our members, even the largest and most successful, are still small businesses. The overwhelming majority are owned and operated by principals who are directly accountable for the editorial voice and financial viability of their newspapers.

AAN is a not-for-profit organization representing the alternative newsweekly industry, which has a weekly readership of 19 million and whose annual revenues are approximately $500 million. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AAN represents 116 newsweeklies in the United States and Canada. Information about AAN and its member papers can be found at www.aan.org.

For further information contact:

Richard Karpel
Executive Director
Lyda Phillips
Communications Director
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
(202) 822-1955

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