Alt-Weeklies ‘Invented the Tone of the Internet’

Wisconsin Public Radio invited AAN executive director Tiffany Shackelford and Shepherd Express publisher Louis Fortis to discuss the state of alternative newsweeklies in 2014 A.D.

“Like with most things, if you do your mission and you do it well, there’s room for you,” said Fortis. “These publications have been around a long time and there’s a real loyal readership.”

He said that readership of the Shepherd Express in Milwaukee remains strong. “We have 253,000 readers. I try to explain that to people. You fill up Brewer Stadium and empty it out. And then you fill it up again and empty it out. And you do that over six times and you have everybody stand together, that’s our readership … and 98 percent of our papers get picked up every week. You know, that’s not falling.”

But hasn’t the internet made alt-weeklies irrelevant??

“We invented … the tone of the internet,” said Shackelford. “That tongue-in-cheek tone, that’s been an alt-weekly mainstay for years and years … Obviously media is changing completely and we absolutely are changing with it. I really think there’s an opportunity for all of media, but particularly our brand of it.”

Listen to the full interview here.