Baltimore City Paper Editor Lee Gardner To Depart

Baltimore City Paper editor Lee Gardner is leaving after 17 years with the paper to become a senior editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Gardner’s last day will be April 27; his final project, he said, would be putting together the paper’s annual guide to the Maryland Film Festival.

An alt-weekly “needs to renew itself every now and then,” Gardner said. “Now’s as good a time as any.”

In a column commemorating the paper’s 35th anniversary this week, Gardner asks what it means to be “alt” now that the line between alternative and mainstream news outlets has blurred:

It makes no more sense for alts to define themselves against dailies or other mainstream press in 2012 than it does for the United States to define itself against the Soviet Union. The game has changed.

That was always the flaw hidden in the “alternative” tag: defining ourselves by what we are not rather than by what we are. That’s not to say that the term has no meaning at all anymore, however. It’s hard to be an upstart outsider at anything for 35 years. In its longevity, its history, its institutional heft, its ongoing newsprint presence, City Paper now has as much in common with the Sun as it does with any of the various actual upstarts that now compete for eyeballs in Baltimore.

The paper’s search for a new editor has begun.

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