The L.A. Weekly has named Ben Westhoff as its music editor, filling the slot left vacant by Gustavo Turner last month.
Ben Joravsky's weekly column for the Reader is now in its 20th year.
In his new book, The Governor, Rod Blagojevich points fingers at many local politicians for his fall from grace. But he also blames the press, including the Chicago Reader, for his problems. In the middle of a chapter on how 33rd Ward alderman Richard Mell (who is also Blago's father-in-law) used the media to spread damaging rumors, he writes: "The first story I recall seeing was in the Reader newspaper. I think the title was 'Mell Gets the Shaft.'" He continues: "I felt violated. I felt betrayed. Who goes to the press about his own family?" Ben Joravsky, the author of said article, points out that the story was actually titled "Rod Gives 'Em the Shaft," and then goes on to tell his side of how that story came about.
At today's equity auction, federal bankruptcy judge Caryl E. Delano gave control of Creative Loafing, Inc. to the company's largest creditor, Atalaya Capital Management. Atalaya's all-cash bid of $5 million won out over Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason's bid of $2.32 million in cash and other securities. The deal is expected to close within 10 days. We've got a roundup of all the news here.
Creative Loafing (Atlanta)'s Thomas Wheatley is in Tampa covering the proceedings. He reports that CL CEO Ben Eason's opening bid was $2.3 million, including $825,000 cash and the rest in "in-kind contributions." Atalaya Capital Management countered by bidding $5 million in cash.
Today's equity auction should be the culmination of nearly a year of bankruptcy court proceedings for the six-paper company. Creative Loafing (Atlanta) is reporting that creditor Atalaya Capital Management is trying to disqualify the other bid for the company, which has been put together by CL CEO Ben Eason. Atalya, calling Eason's bid "facially incomprehensible," is arguing that the sources for contributions included in Eason's bid "are not clear." Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader reports that Atalya managing partner Michael Bogdan has been calling CL publishers to assure them the hedge fund doesn't want to run the company into the ground. On the call to Chicago, Bogdan was joined by former Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea, who would become a CL board member if Atalya wins control of the company. O'Shea tells Michael Miner that Atalya would make former Des Moines Register president Richard Gilbert interim CEO upon taking over.
"Creative Loafing's bankruptcy is just one more media story to follow, along with the Sun-Times Media Group's bankruptcy and the Tribune Company's bankruptcy," Michael Miner writes. "But CL's is the story I'm part of." He explores the difficulties of "reporting on your own house" as a media writer, and explains why he kept news of Reader layoffs off his blog for four days -- and didn't name any of the departing staffers -- just days after he had broken news of layoffs -- with names -- at Chicago Public Radio. "I have no explanation that will satisfactorily answer this question," he writes. "The fancy one I'll retreat to is one word long: epistemology. You see, it's not simply what journalists know that matters to us but also how we happen to know it. I knew what happened at WBEZ because I got a tip and worked the story; I knew about the Reader because it's home."
No surprise here: Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason and the company's largest creditor Atalaya Capital Management both tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they have high hopes for next week's auction of the company in Tampa bankruptcy court. "I think we are absolutely the best bid," Eason says. "Any bid has got to have cash, management and know-how, and be in a position to run the business and pay off debt. ... We have all of that." But Atalaya managing partner Michael Bogdan begs to differ. "We are going to come into court with a bid we believe will prevail," he says. "And if somebody starts with higher bid (sic), we are absolutely willing to raise our bid." It's expected that Atalya will bid a higher dollar figure than Eason's group, but Eason has said he will ask the judge to consider publishing expertise as part of deciding what the "highest and best" bid for the six-paper company is. The auction is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The Creative Loafing CEO tells the Chicago Reader he is working on a bid for the company that consists of three components: Eason and his family; BIA Digital Partners, who CL owes $10 million; "and managers from all across the company." Eason says the idea is to couple the pay cuts taken by the 25-30 managers with an offer of equity in the company and a chance to join the bid. "If it loses, Eason says, they'll be paid their deferred salaries out of auction proceeds," the Reader reports. "Managers who remain on the sidelines will get paid back either way." The idea is one way Eason hopes to set his bid apart from the bid expected from Atalaya Capital Management, CL's main creditor. He hopes the show of unity will impress the bankruptcy judge, who will hold the auction for the six-paper chain on Aug. 25. "You've got managers clearly invested in the business, in continuing to run the business, and in looking to keeping it going," Eason says. MORE: In other CL news, a Chicago blogger gives his in-depth analysis of the company's value.
In a lengthy Post Magazine feature, City Paper alums like Russ Smith, Jack Shafer and David Carr join current leaders Erik Wemple and Ben Eason in discussing the paper's history, its legacy and its future. Even former mayor Marion Barry, who recently appeared on a City Paper cover that incited some controversy, weighs in on the alt-weekly.