Are Alt-Weeklies Becoming “Less Alternative”?

In a post-convention column about the state of the alt-weekly industry, Austin Chronicle editor Louis Black argues that many weekly papers have become “less alternative” since being purchased by larger media groups:

Over the years, many of the founding owners and publishers have sold their papers – some to publishing chains, others to individuals or local groups. This served to place a greater emphasis on these papers’ profits. In many cases, especially that of publishing groups, the money to buy papers came from venture capitalists who expect substantial and consistent returns on their investments.

This has led to the “alternatives” becoming far less alternative. There are still a number of weeklies that do excellent local and state political coverage or offer genuine alternative views, but far fewer than there were when the Austin Chronicle hosted the AAN convention in 1994.

In contrast to maximizing profits, Black says that the Chronicle focuses on “putting out the best paper that we can while taking care of the staff.”

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