Big Green Umbrella, a company owned by Michael Gartner and Gary Gerlach, has purchased Cityview, a Des Moines, Iowa, alt-weekly and AAN member paper, reports The Des Moines Register. Gartner also owns an interest in Pointblank, another Des Moines alt and AAN member. The two papers will merge and publish as Cityview, with Pointblank founder and editor Jon Gaskell as editor. With the last edition of Pointblank already on news racks, 10 Cityview staffers were laid off Wednesday and will interview for positions with the publication -- though not all of them will be (re)hired.
Rather than accept a two-week suspension without pay, NY Press Editor in Chief Jeff Koyen resigned this morning. His departure comes on the heels of intense public criticism of a feature titled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope" that ran in the paper last week. President and Publisher Chris Rohland tells Editor & Publisher that -- contrary to comments Koyen made to the Web site Gawker -- the suspension wasn't due to the Pope article itself but a related instance of insubordination.
Goldman Sachs, an investment firm not holding a conference next week, put together a handy primer on what to expect for 2005. And judging from analyst Peter Appert's views, it's not much.
Last weekend, the Hoosier Environmental Council presented NUVO a Green Business Award in recognition of its eco-friendly practices. The Indianapolis alt-weekly uses newsprint with 80 percent recycled content and takes energy-saving measures, such as having lights and computers on sleep mode. In an online staff report, NUVO suggests that conservation-minded readers "take the time to ask your favorite local newspaper to consider a higher-recycled content."
At least five L.A. Weekly senior editorial and art department employees -- including veteran education reporter Howard Blume -- have filed grievances with management via the International Association of Machinists, the paper's bargaining unit, reports L.A. Alternative Press. Most are alleging that they're being pushed out of their jobs without adequate union process as specified in their contracts and only because they make some of the paper's top union salaries. These charges come on the heels of the September ouster of several veteran employees at The Village Voice, which, like L.A. Weekly, is owned by Village Voice Media.
Nearly two decades ago, Bradley Zeve bought a failing Monterey County tourist paper called Coasting and gradually transformed it into what is now Monterey County Weekly, reports Ruth Hammond. Celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, the paper owes its longevity to Zeve's approach: Plan carefully, know your audience, and be prepared to weather disasters. The result is a paper that claims the second-highest household penetration -- around 30 percent -- among papers in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. "By having a huge household penetration, we have a lot of influence," says Zeve.
Russ Smith, founder of Baltimore City Paper and co-founder of New York Press, talks to Gawker about the state of alternative papers. He thinks the industry is dealing with "the brain drain of talented youngsters who, 20 years ago, would be fresh blood but are now involved with Internet projects." Smith then tells writers Andrew Krucoff and Chris Gage that editors hoping to sustain alt-weekly success need to "focus on the quality of writing, rather than knee-jerk politics and Quentin Tarantino hagiography."
Readers of Gambit Weekly, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Miami New Times, Weekly Planet (Tampa), Weekly Planet (Sarasota), Folio Weekly and Orlando Weekly have lately seen Mother Nature at her worst. Distributed in areas affected by the hurricanes that have pounded Florida and surrounding states since August, these alt-weeklies have come out on schedule -- thanks to determined staffers and contingency plans.