Gibson, Lenehan Appointed to Board

Six others announce candidacies

AAN President Bill Towler announced today the appointment of two new members to the AAN Board of Directors.

Missoula Independent Publisher Matt Gibson was named to the at-large seat vacated last year by Sonja Snyder, former publisher of Eugene Weekly, and Chicago Reader Inc. Executive Editor Michael Lenehan was named Diversity chair, a non-voting ad hoc position.

Gibson has been publisher of the Missoula Independent since he bought the paper in 1997. He is a current member of the Admissions committee, having served on that body since 1998. Last year he was a member of the ad hoc Donated Ad committee, which dealt with strategic issues facing the association, including its transition away from the donated ad program. He also served as chairman of the Independent Caucus in 2001, and participated as a member of AAN’s Long-Range Planning committee in 1999.

“Matt has been an active and valuable member of the association, and he’ll make a great Board member,” said Towler.

The at-large seat to which Gibson was appointed has been unoccupied since Snyder resigned earlier this year after she was replaced as publisher of Eugene Weekly. Gibson will attend the pre-convention Board meeting in Madison and has announced that he plans to run for one of the two at-large seats that will be up for election at the annual meeting on the final day of the convention.

Lenehan has been involved in diversity issues since the late 1980s, when the Reader instituted a minority writing fellowship under his direction. In 1998, with financial support from the Reader, he began working with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism to establish a minority recruiting and training program specifically for the alternative press. The Academy for Alternative Journalism was formally launched in 2000.

The eight-week summer residency program, now funded by AAN and a number of individual publishers, introduces minority journalists to the alternative press and trains them in long-form feature writing.

AAN provided the Academy with funding of $50,000 in the current fiscal year and at this year’s Annual Meeting will consider a proposal to establish a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation for the purpose of increasing diversity at alternative papers.

“We’re dedicating more resources to increase diversity in our business, so it makes sense to have someone like Mike on the Board who is focused on those issues,” Towler says. Lenehan’s appointment and the position of Diversity chair will both expire after two years.

Eight board seats will be up for election at this year’s convention, including the at-large position Gibson says he’ll run for.

Three board members have announced they will seek re-election to their current seats: Sioux Watson, publisher of Independent Weekly, will run again for Secretary; Paula Routly of Seven Days will seek re-election to her at-large seat; and City Pages (Twin Cities) Publisher Mark Bartel will run again for Treasurer. All three positions are two-year terms.

In addition, Phoenix Media Communications Executive Editor Clif Garboden, whose term as Admissions chair expires in Madison, has announced that he will run for the one year remaining in the term of Vice President. By long-standing AAN tradition, the Vice President is the heir apparent to the organization’s presidency.

The current Vice President, Jane Levine of the Chicago Reader, was appointed to the position by Towler. He vacated the VP position in January to assume the presidency when former Willamette Week executive Russ Martineau resigned. Although Levine will step down as VP, she will retain her at-large seat.

Memphis Flyer Publisher Ken Neill will run to replace Garboden as Admissions chair, and Paul Curci, publisher of Philadelphia City Paper, plans to run for Marketing chair. Neill has served on the Admissions committee for four years and previously sat on the Board when his paper hosted the convention in 1999. Curci, a member of the Marketing committee this year, seeks to replace Don Farley, group publisher of the Times Shamrock Alternative Weekly Group. Both seats are two-year terms.

Andy Newman, editor of Pittsburgh City Paper and current Editorial chair, will run for the largely ceremonial position of Convention chair. (City Paper has already agreed to host the convention in Pittsburgh in 2003.) Although Newman will unite the Editorial and Convention chairs, Lenehan’s appointment to the ad hoc Diversity seat means the Board will retain its full complement of 16 members.

According to the association’s bylaws, all AAN publication members are eligible to run for any of the seats that are up for election this year. Anyone interested in announcing a campaign for a position on the Board or in knowing more about the responsibilities of a Board member, please call Executive Director Richard Karpel at (202) 822-1955.

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