New, Svelte AAN Print Directory in the Works

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies print directory, which previously served as a marketing piece for member papers, is being retooled as an internal membership resource — a quick-reference AAN “yellow pages.”

The new directory will be smaller and slimmer, with streamlined listings that will provide general contact information for each publication.

The change was precipitated by the Marketing Committee’s determination that the current incarnation of the print directory has become superfluous, containing information that is now easily accessible online. The committee’s decision was supported by the results of a recent member survey, which revealed that only 17 percent of AAN members use the directory as a marketing tool, and that more members than not rated it “not useful” for that purpose.

The same survey also demonstrated that seven out of 10 papers use the directory as a “reference for information about other AAN papers.” So when AAN’s Board of Directors met on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2004, in San Diego, they decided to redesign rather than discontinue the book.

AAN staff is currently verifying contact information for member papers and choosing design elements in anticipation of an early-2005 distribution.

As part of its streamlining, the new directory will no longer allot page space in which member papers can provide short descriptions of their newspaper. Although he agreed the change was necessary, AAN executive director Richard Karpel says he’s going to miss the unusual description provided each year by the folks at The Stranger. “Now I’m never going to finish reading Moby Dick,” he complains.

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