At the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual meeting on Saturday, July 23 in New Orleans, members voted unanimously to change the organization's name to Association of Alternative Newsmedia. The association also elected Colorado Springs Independent CEO Fran Zankowski as President and admitted its first online-only publication: The American Independent News Network.

Continue ReadingAAN Members Approve Name Change, Elect Zankowski As President

Calling Alan Prendergast's reporting on how a Wisconsin-based insurance company fought one of its policyholders in court a "riveting tale," CJR's Trudy Lieberman says he "revealed much about the inner workings of an insurance company ... provid[ing] a kind of an insurance 101." She concludes that Prendergast's work proves that the alternative press "can expose the real story" while the mainstream media "continues its obsession with politics and pony races."

Continue ReadingWestword Staff Writer Gets CJR Laurel

In the seventeenth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, Westword staff writer Alan Prendergast talks to Angelica Herrera about his stories on local district attorney Carol Chambers. The two articles, which earned the veteran alt-weekly writer a first place finish in News Story -- Long Form, specifically examine Chambers' controversial use of Colorado's "habitual offender" statutes, which give prosecutors leeway to seek longer sentences for repeat offenders regardless of the nature of the crimes. In this Q&A, Prendergast discusses the roots of the story, how Chambers reacted, and why alt-weekly writers shouldn't shy away from covering the same ground as the daily. "Sometimes the temptation with weeklies is to shy away from stories that the dailies are already doing," he says. "But, often those stories in the dailies are poorly covered, or there are just a lot of questions left unanswered."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Alan Prendergast

The Society of Professional Journalists has named Westword staff writer Alan Prendergast a 2007 Sigma Delta Chi Award winner in the feature writing category (under 100,000 circulation) for "The Caged Life," a story about life in solitary confinement. The awards will be presented July 11 during the annual banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Continue ReadingWestword Wins SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award

Former L.A. Weekly news editor Alan Mittelstaedt joined Los Angeles CityBeat yesterday as news editor, replacing Dean Kuipers, who moved to the Los Angeles Times. A little further down the coast, Rich Kane, who left OC Weekly in 2005 and ended up as editor of Inland Empire Weekly (a paper started by ex-OC Weekly staffer Jeremy Zachary that was later acquired by LA CityBeat-parent Southland Publishing), returns to the Weekly Aug. 2 as its new managing editor. Replacing Kane at Inland Empire is Charles Mindenhall, a former L.A. Weekly staffer.

Continue ReadingIt’s Musical Chairs at SoCal Alt-Weeklies

A humble sales guy for Boston's Weekly Dig by day, by night Alan Levesque plays bass and sings for The Radio Knives, a "primal garage rock" band. "It's the kind of thing that makes cave men jump up and down," Levesque tells The Boston Herald, which gives the trio props.

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Sales Rep Howls at Night