According to AAN executive director Richard Karpel, reporters often mistakenly apply the term "alternative newspaper" to the wrong publications. So in an effort to "make some small contribution to human understanding and the brand equity of our member papers," he decided to note every time he sees the term used incorrectly. In this first edition of "Hey, That's Not an Alt-Weekly!" -- an irregular series devoted to the correct use of the term "alternative newspaper" and all its variants -- Karpel explains what an alternative newspaper is and why The Sun News in Santa Fe, N.M., doesn't qualify.

Continue ReadingHey, That’s Not an Alt-Weekly!

It's time to recruit our next class for the Academy for Alternative Journalism, the training program for long-form writing and reporting that AAN funds every summer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. To help spread the word, AAN is making available to members a display ad (PDF file) to run between and now and the Feb. 8 deadline. Feel free to amend the size of this ad to support your format, add your logo, or add additional language urging interested applicants to contact your paper directly about the program. If you have any questions about AAJ, contact Donna Ladd at the Jackson Free Press or Debra Silvestrin at the AAN office.

Continue ReadingHouse Ad Targeting Potential AAJ Applicants Now Available

AAN is now accepting applications for the 2007-08 membership year. Alternative newspapers that are interested in applying for membership in the association can download an application here (PDF file). Applications must be received in the AAN office in Washington, D.C. by Dec. 31 to be eligible. As papers that have run the gauntlet know, the AAN membership process is rigorous. To learn more about how the association determines whether a paper qualifies for membership, we encourage potential applicants to read our membership guidelines -- there is a short version and a long version (Word doc). For questions about the process, papers should contact Debra Silvestrin at 202-289-8484 or debra (at)

Continue ReadingAAN Membership Application Process Begins

To show solidarity with Phoenix New Times, members of AAN are providing links on their websites that direct their readers to the many places on the internet where the home address of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is listed. Last week, New Times disclosed that its executives, writers, and even its readers were the target of a sweeping grand jury probe relating to the paper's publishing the sheriff's home address online; this disclosure led to the paper's co-founders being arrested. One day later, all charges against New Times were dropped. "Our association and its members won't tolerate this sort of attack on the right of a member paper to publish information that is and ought to be public record," says Tim Redmond, AAN First Amendment Chair Tim Redmond and executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Protest Arizona Officials’ Outrageous Abuse of Power

The AAN CAN sales rep who generates the most money in new business between Oct. 11, 2007 and Jan. 25, 2008 will receive a 10-day European dream trip for two. The trip includes round-trip airfare and 3 nights each in London, Paris, and Rome. In addition, the sales manager of the winning rep also wins a trip for two to Europe. Sales reps must sell at least $10,000 in new business during the contest period to be eligible to win. For more details, travel restrictions, moral support and/or sales ideas, call Tiffany Kildale at 202.289.8484.

Continue ReadingAAN CAN Announces New Contest: Win a European Vacation

It took us a little more than 40 months, but yesterday, the 25,000th story was posted to AAN's collaborative news site. While we'd love to say the milestone was marked with one of the in-depth investigations our members are so well-known for, alas, the 25,000th story was a recipe for "Drunken Cherries" from Philadelphia Weekly. It's true: it takes all kinds, especially here at AAN, but perhaps it's fitting that the milestone was marked by a food story, considering alt-weeklies' domination of food-writing awards over the past few years. Either way, there's plenty of content on, be it about politics, food, or whatever else you may be into. "I'm not usually big on milestones, but this one is significant to me because it shows the real development of as a deep, valuable resource for readers and for editors," says AAN senior editor Jon Whiten.

Continue Surpasses 25,000-Story Mark

Executive editor Mike Lenehan (pictured) left Chicago Reader, Inc. on Aug. 30, and as a result he has stepped down from his position as Diversity Chair on the AAN Board of Directors. AAN president Stephen Leon appointed Jackson Free Press editor and current at-large board member Donna Ladd to serve the one year remaining in Lenehan's term as Diversity Chair, and appointed East Bay Express publisher Jody Colley to take Ladd's at-large seat for the one year remaining in her term. "I think I speak for everyone on the board in expressing our gratitude for Mike's service over the years," Leon says. "We're going to miss his dry wit, and also his common sense." Lenehan has served on the board since 2002 and was elected as the association's first Diversity Chair in 2004.

Continue ReadingAAN Board Member Resigns, Two Others Appointed

As part of a larger redesign and graphic overhaul of the site to be revealed later this year, we've made some initial changes to

  • The "Movies" section is now "Movies+TV" and TV stories have been moved there from the "Culture" section.
  • Food and Drink stories now have their own "Food+Drink" section.
  • The "Politics" section has been resurrected.
  • The "Opinion" section, on the other hand, has been eliminated, and its contents have all been shifted to other sections.

In addition to cutting down on clutter in certain sections, these changes also mark the first step towards a modified folksonomy for organizing the information on the site.

Continue ReadingRedesign Begins at

Elections for 11 positions on the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' Board of Directors will be held Saturday, June 16, during the association's annual meeting in Portland. Nine incumbents and two new candidates have announced their intention to run. Read here to find out what they think the issues are and why they want to serve.

Continue ReadingAAN Board Candidates Make Their Pitch