In July, Worcester Mag underwent a redesign and launched a new format as part of the paper's evolution since changing owners last summer. Publisher Gareth Charter recently spoke to Worceseter's public radio station about some of the changes and the overall health of the alt-weekly industry. "Weekly newspapers ... are not facing nearly the declines that daily newspapers are," Charter tells WICN-FM. He says that one reason is because an alt-weekly is "more of a leisure read ... as opposed to that daily drumbeat [of news]."

Continue ReadingPublisher Discusses Changes at Worcester Mag and the Alt Industry

The Massachusetts alt-weekly unveils a new format today with more color pages and a stapled bind. Savvy readers may also notice that the publication's title is five letters shorter: Worcester Mag is the official title of the paper now. "We are embracing the abbreviation so many readers have used for years," publisher Gareth Charter says. "We are not a magazine in the traditional sense of that term. We are an alternative news voice; in print once a week and online 24/7."

Continue ReadingWorcester Magazine Debuts New Design and Format, Shortens Name

Boston Phoenix staff writer David Bernstein was named Journalist of the Year by the New England Press Association. He also brought home two additional first-place awards for the Phoenix -- in the Investigative Reporting and Serious Columnist categories. "Mr. Bernstein's in-depth articles are compelling and hyper-relevant, challenging myths and assumptions with sharp, clear reporting and a highly readable writing style," the judges write. "Very impressive!" All in all, the Phoenix won another nine awards, including additional first-place wins for Convergence and Reporting on Religious Issues. Worcester Magazine took home six awards, including first-place finishes in the Personality Photo, Social Issues Feature Story and Local Ad: Color categories. Boston's Weekly Dig won four awards, finishing first in Educational Reporting, Infographics and Transportation/Commuter Reporting. The Portland Phoenix also won four awards, and placed first in the General News Story category.

Continue ReadingFour AAN Members Win Scores of Regional Press Awards

Three alt-weeklies have recently cut back in freelancer-generated content areas. SF Weekly theater reviewer Chloe Veltman writes that the paper's weekly Stage setion "will drop from three plays -- my 1,000-word column plus two 200-word capsule reviews -- to just my column." Over at sister paper the Nashville Scene, books contributor Maria Browning says on her blog that the book page has been eliminated from that paper altogether. And up in Massachusetts, Worcester Magazine will stop running the local bi-weekly comic "Action Geek."

Continue ReadingPapers Continue to Cut Freelance Costs

When Holden Landmark, a subsidiary of Cracked Rock Media, purchased the alt-weekly in August, the new owners were "taken off guard by the backlash," the Worcester Business Journal Reports. New publisher Gareth Charter and his boss Kirk Davis say that economics forced them to make deep cuts to their newest property, a move that was heavily criticized. Though some observers have thought of the deal as an odd fit, with Landmark's focus on suburban community papers, Davis says the acquisition makes perfect sense to them. "Worcester is the capital of Central Massachusetts," he says. "We've got a lot of Worcester business in our suburban titles, so it's not like this market was unknown to us." Davis and Charter also say that fears of a "suburbanized" WoMag are unfounded, and point to a recent story to prove that Landmark wants to keep the alt-weekly's edge.

Continue ReadingWorcester Magazine’s New Owners Talk Shop

With the exception of one person, the entire editorial staff will no longer have jobs at the paper tomorrow when the sale to Holden Landmark Corp. closes, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Three non-editorial staffers also will not be offered jobs with the new company, and one full-time position will be made part-time. "As we merge the Holden Landmark Corp. and Worcester Magazine, we are retaining 88 percent of the combined company's employment base," the paper's new publisher Gareth Charter says in a staff memo explaining the changes. Jim Keogh, current editor-in-chief of the Holden Landmark newspaper group, will take the reins as editor of Worcester Magazine, and Doreen Manning will be the paper's arts & entertainment editor. Outgoing editor-in-chief Noah Bombard tells the Telegram & Gazette that while he expected to lose his job as a result of the sale, he was "stunned" by the depth of the changes. "Cuts were expected, but nobody expected them at this level," he says. MORE: Read Bombard's farewell email.

Continue ReadingNew Owners Shuffle the Editorial Deck at Worcester Magazine

The Holden Landmark Corp. yesterday purchased the alt-weekly from Worcester Publishing Ltd. for an undisclosed sum, according to reports. Landmark owns four community weeklies in Central Massachusetts and a monthly parenting magazine. Owner and publisher Allen Fletcher tells the Worcester Business Journal that he sold the magazine because he had arrived "at a time in my life when I was looking to make a change. It's a personal path I've been on for a few years." He told the Telegram & Gazette that the paper was in good health, with this year seeing a 30 percent increase in revenues over last year. Landmark publisher Gareth Charter says they have "no interest whatsoever in suburbanizing Worcester Magazine," but he hopes it can expand the company's advertising reach, by allowing businesses to target the city as well as individual suburbs where Landmark already has weeklies. The deal is expected to close Aug. 29.

Continue ReadingWorcester Magazine Sold to Local Weekly Publishers

The Phoenix was named "Newspaper of the Year" in the alternative weekly division by the New England Press Association in its 2007 Better Newspaper Contest. "After 40 years, the Boston Phoenix remains a model for alts, bristling with attitude and loaded with coverage of entertainment, culture, politics, and tweaking of the daily press," the judges say. The Boston alt-weekly led the pack of AAN papers represented in the awards with 12 first-place finishes. Boston's Weekly Dig was close behind it's crosstown competitor, grabbing seven first-place awards. The Portland Phoenix and Worcester Magazine each finished first in three categories, while the Hartford Advocate and the Providence Phoenix each took home one first-place award.

Continue ReadingNEPA Names Boston Phoenix ‘Newspaper of the Year,’ Gives Alts Many Awards