Alt-Weeklies Invade Columbia J-School

In a February conversation with Columbia Journalism School’s Gina Boubion, AAN’s executive director Richard Karpel mentioned that the association’s Executive Committee was scheduled to meet in New York City on April 17. Boubion, the J-school’s assistant director of career services, jumped at the opportunity and quickly organized a panel discussion and reception and invited other alt-weekly representatives in the northeast to attend.

So Thursday, April 16 will be alt-weekly day at the venerable institution of higher learning.

From 5 to 6 pm, members of the Executive Committee will take part in a panel discussion on the state of the alt-weekly industry to be moderated by Columbia student and Washington City Paper alum Jeff Horwitz. The discussion is being widely promoted to the J-school’s students. An informal reception is scheduled after the discussion.

“Alt-weekly journalism is very much on our students’ radar,” Boubion says. “As daily newspapers have cut news hole and staff, our students fully understand the alts are the only medium left where they can practice the kind of long-form narrative journalism they crave to do.”

Confirmed attendees include Karpel and Executive Committee members Stephen Leon (editor and publisher, Metroland); Ken Neill (publisher, Memphis Flyer); Sioux Watson (publisher, The Independent Weekly); Fran Zankowski (CEO, Colorado Springs Independent); and Mark Zusman (editor, Willamette Week). Earlier in the day, Zankowski will be interviewing students for job openings — yes, journalism job openings — at his paper.

Other alt-weekly people have indicated they will be on hand as well, including The Village Voice‘s Tony Ortega, Philadelphia City Paper‘s Brian Howard, NY Press‘ Jerry Portwood and Seven Days‘ Paula Routly. J-school dean Nicholas Lemann, whose first journalism job was at a New Orleans alt-weekly called the Vieux Carre Courier, is also scheduled to attend.

Other AAN members who are interested in attending should contact Karpel (rkarpel (at) or Boubion (gb2219 (at)

All events will take place in the Journalism School’s building, 116th and Broadway, NYC. The panel discussion is in the Lecture Hall and the reception is in the Stabile Student Center.