Tierra Media Group, the parent company to Oklahoma Gazette and OKCBiz magazine that Gazette publisher Bill Bleakley formed in 2007, will launch a new hyperlocal community weekly, EastWord, in eastern Oklahoma County on March 1 of next year.
The Oklahoma Gazette founder and publisher will be inducted on April 4 along with eight other notable journalists. Bleakley started the Gazette in 1979 as a bimonthly publication with a circulation of about 2,000 and has grown it into a paper with a weekly circulation of more than 57,000. He also acquired the biweekly business newspaper OKCBusiness in 2003, and last year formed Tierra Media Group, an umbrella company for all of his papers. Bleakley also sits on AAN's Board of Directors as Organization/Bylaws Chair. "I share this recognition with the many staff members whose efforts achieved the successes of our publications while adhering to the highest journalistic standards," he says.
Bill Bleakley has published the Gazette since he founded it in 1979, and four years ago, he purchased OKCBusiness, a biweekly business newspaper. Now he has moved both of those publications, along with High Plains Events LLC, which organizes events for the papers and other groups, under the umbrella of Tierra Media Group. Bleakley will take the title of president of the new company. In a statement, he says the company does not plan to expand out of its current geographic area. "We don't consider ourselves a chain because everything we do relates to niches right here in Central Oklahoma," he says. "Oklahoma City is a very hot economy and we're positioned right in the middle of it with no intention of acquiring properties outside of this market." Bleakley serves on AAN's Board of Directors as the Organization/Bylaws Chair. In other Gazette news, the paper and High Plains Events have announced Oklahoma City's inaugural Halloween parade, Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild, featuring
a performance by the Flaming Lips (singer Wayne Coyne will be the parade's Grand Marshal). Filter magazine reports that the band is currently looking for 1,000 fans to take part in the March of a Thousand Flaming Skeletons at the parade. CORRECTION: We originally noted that the Halloween parade would include a performance by the Flaming Lips. That is incorrect -- the band will only be appearing and leading the skeleton march, not performing music.
Erin Sullivan (pictured), managing editor of Baltimore City Paper, is running for the membership chair position being vacated by Seven Days' Paula Routly, one of several spots on the AAN board that are up for grabs this year. Voting will take place on Saturday, June 17, during the annual meeting on the final day of the convention in Little Rock. AAN News put together this voting guide to help members get acquainted with the candidates.