In his yearly report to readers, Willamette Week publisher Richard Meeker says the Portland, Ore., newsweekly's financial situation has been "lousy." Advertising is down since July and the paper is more than ten percent below budget for the year. But the news isn't all bad. Meeker says WW's "total audience has remained steady" and its sister paper, the Santa Fe Reporter, is having a good year. Nevertheless, WW has laid off several staffers and transferred one staff writer to Santa Fe. Editor Mark Zusman tells AAN News that the paper laid off three classified sales representatives, one designer, and staff writer (and "Queer Window" columnist) Byron Beck, while Corey Pein moves to the Reporter. Although the paper will "be lucky to eke out a small profit this year," Meeker says he and Zusman are "eager to tackle the challenges we all now face, and more committed than ever to continuing -- and improving -- the quality of reporting and thinking we do." More on Beck's departure from the Portland Mercury and Just Out magazine.

Continue ReadingWillamette Week Tightens Belt, but Santa Fe Reporter is ‘Doing Well’

Freelancers Sherry Deatrick of Louisville Eccentric Observer and Jennifer Smith of Isthmus, and Byron Woods, theater and dance critic for the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.), have each received fellowships to attend the third National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. "All the American arts depend on media coverage and intelligent criticism," says NEA chairman Dana Gioia. "The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes provide professional development to improve both the quantity and quality of this country's arts journalism." The Institute, a $1 million NEA initiative, will be conducted next year from Jan. 30 - Feb. 9.

Continue ReadingThree Alt-Weekly Arts Writers Selected for NEA Fellowship