In an opinion column published yesterday, Boise Weekly editor Rachael Daigle affirms her paper's commitment to maintaining a wall between editorial and advertising. The column is in response to Chicago Reader publisher Alison Draper's recent declaration that her paper will "push" the line between the two. Daigle calls foul on the notion:

Blurring the lines between editorial and advertising is called advertorial. It's not journalistic, it's not ethical to pass it off as editorial content and it's the public that loses when editorial integrity is compromised.

No matter how bad business was at BW during the heaviest part of the recession, we never once considered chipping away at the wall that separates our editorial and advertising departments. The day BW Publisher Sally Freeman announces her intention to "push" the line between editorial and sales will be the day I'll hand her my resignation. Thankfully, Freeman is BW's biggest protector of that line.
It just so happens that AAN editors will be discussing this topic during a roundtable session next Thursday in Toronto.

Continue ReadingBoise Weekly Editor: ‘It’s Not OK’ to Mix Editorial and Advertising

More details have come to light on the CL, Inc. decision to fire long-time Chicago Reader editor Alison True. Speaking to senior editor Michael Miner -- who on Friday described True's firing as a "tragic misjudgment" -- Reader publisher Alison Draper indicated that the paper's next editor will be expected to collaborate more often with the business side:

"The editor of the Reader," said Draper, "has to work closely with sales to find innovative ways to take our fair share of the dollars that are shrinking and shrinking quickly." She promised me that she wouldn't "blur" the line between editorial and advertising, but she would "push" it. The distinction was clearer to her than it was to me.
Miner goes on to explain that True was fired at a Starbucks after the paper's Best of Chicago issue came out. It was, Miner says, the "fattest, most successful issue in years, a triumph True and Draper should have been sharing in."

Continue ReadingPublisher Says Chicago Reader Will “Push” Line Between Editorial and Advertising

Alison True has been fired as editor of the Chicago Reader after twenty-six years with the paper. According to senior editor Michael Miner, the decision was announced during a staff meeting this morning by Reader publisher Alison Draper. Said Miner, "I consider this act unfathomable — a tragic misjudgment by two people, Draper and [Creative Loafing CEO Marty] Petty, whom I respect. I suppose they have a vision of tomorrow's Reader they think True is wrong for."

According to Chicago Business, True was caught completely off guard by the move.

Continue ReadingAlison True Out as Editor of Chicago Reader

The Reader's cover this week features an illustration of Barack Obama with the text "Don't Screw This Up." Editor Alison True writes the paper has heard from several callers who told her the paper was "assuming he'll screw up because he's black." True insists this isn't the case, and reiterates a crucial point: "No matter how jubilant some of us may feel about his election, the media's role isn't to cheerlead for elected officials," she writes. "We were addressing Obama as the person -- not the black person -- whom we've handed an important new job and letting him know that even though we put him there, we'll be watching." The Reader had a companion cover ready to go if McCain won with the text "Please Don't Die." To see these and more post-election alt-weekly covers, check out AAN's Flickr page. We've also assembled some pre-election covers. If your paper published an election-themed cover that isn't there, email it to Jon Whiten at jwhiten (at)

Continue ReadingChicago Reader’s Obama Cover Ruffles Some Feathers

Edward McClelland measures his former paper's hip quotient, using the fictional Reader music critic who appeared in the 2000 film High Fidelity as a yardstick. "Today, if you made a movie about Chicago hipsters, Caroline Fortis probably wouldn't write for the Reader," McClelland writes in Columbia Journalism Review. "She'd write for Time Out Chicago, or Pitchfork." Reader editor Alison True, Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason, and former Reader staff writers Neal Pollack and Harold Henderson weigh in with their takes on the Reader's past and its future.

Continue ReadingFormer Staffer Asks: Is There Still a Place for the Chicago Reader?

"No one here told John Conroy to lay off police torture," is the headline to Michael Miner's blog post written in response to last week's Chicago Sun-Times column on Conroy's work on police torture at the Reader and a related piece from the Beachwood Reporter, an online newspaper. Editor Alison True strikes the same chord in a separate blog post, saying that "I encouraged John to explore other subjects," but "never asked him to lay off police torture."

Continue ReadingMore on the Chicago Reader, John Conroy, and Police Torture

John Conroy, Harold Henderson, Tori Marlan and Steve Bogira were laid off this week by editor Alison True, Michael Miner writes on his News Bites blog. True tells the Chicago Tribune that, given the mandate to cut costs by her new bosses at Creative Loafing in August, it became difficult to afford their work. "The numbers are part of a deal that was structured a long time ago," she says. "Even if [CEO Ben Eason] were the most passionate journalist in the world, he wouldn't have the option of saying, 'I'll give you a little extra this year so this doesn't have to happen.' He's bound to his deal." Meanwhile, Fishbowl DC is reporting that five editorial staffers were laid off at the Reader's sister paper today: Washington City Paper writers Joe Eaton, Amanda S. Miller, Tim Carman and Jessica Gould, and editorial assistant Joe Dempsey, are all no longer with the paper.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader & Washington City Paper Editorial Staffers Laid Off