Lisa Chamberlain Leaves Free Times

National search underway for new editor-in-chief

Dismissed as editor-in-chief of the Cleveland Free Times last week, Lisa Chamberlain wasted no time in returning to her former employer, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio.

“It took him all of ten minutes to offer me a job,” says Chamberlain from Kucinich’s offices outside Cleveland.

Free Times publisher Matt Fabyan, who declined further comment on the reasons for Chamberlain’s departure, says letting Chamberlain go was his decision. The ousting comes in the wake of other Village Voice Media top level dismissals and departures in Los Angeles and Seattle.

“It was a very complicated matter that I’d prefer not to discuss,” says Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, who started as an intern with the paper in 1993, left to work as press secretary for Kucinich’s1996 election campaign, after which she stayed on as a congressional aide in Washington, D.C., before returning to the Free Times as associate editor in 1999. She was promoted to editor-in-chief in November of that year.

“The respect and stature of the paper while I was editor was greatly improved,” says Chamberlain.

Don Forst, editor-in-chief of The Village Voice, will be in Cleveland three days a week to work with Managing Editor Eric Broder as interim editor until a replacement for Chamberlain is hired, Fabyan says.

“Village Voice Media is committed to the Free Times and is giving us more resources,” Fabyan says. “The Free Times is doing well. Despite the recession, we’ve had a good year.”

Chamberlain says she enjoys journalism and political work equally. As a special assistant to the representative, she is currently working to keep LTV Steel, one of the cities largest and oldest employers, in Cleveland. The company began to close its plant last December.

“I definitely plan on returning to journalism, but as a writer or reporter, and not in Cleveland,” she tells AAN News.

Cleveland is one of two markets where the two largest alternative weekly chains, Village Voice Media and New Times, compete directly. The other is Los Angeles.

Cleveland Free Times is owned by VVM, which in addition to The Village Voice, also owns the Nashville Scene, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Seattle Weekly. New Times owns the Cleveland Scene, New Times Los Angeles and other weeklies from coast to coast.

John Dicker, a freelance writer based in New York, contributed to this story.

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