In a piece for Minneapolis Observer Quarterly, Craig Cox weaves a review of David Carr's The Night of the Gun with personal anecdotes about Carr (a former editor for the now-defunct Twin Cities Reader, City Pages' crosstown rival) and the Twin Cities alt-weekly scene of the 1980s. "Once you were accepted into the club as a freelancer or -- dream of dreams -- a staffer at one of the two local alternative weeklies, you were plugged into the local pop culture scene in a way no one else was," Cox writes. "You didn't have to be high or narcissistic back then to feel good about working six days a week, every week (as we did at City Pages) for three or four hundred bucks. It was kind of an exclusive fraternity."
That's his take after picking up a copy this week, though he says he has "hurt feelings" about City Pages "running the Twin Cities Reader [a now-defunct AAN paper he used to edit] out of business." Carr, who also served as editor of Washington City Paper and is now a reporter for the New York Times, tells the Minnesota Monitor: "I share newspaper approaches with [Village Voice Media]. I've always been equal opportunity in terms of choosing opponents and choosing targets." He adds that VVM papers "in general are far superior to most weeklies, and they fund great journalism, pay a living wage, pay healthcare."
In an extensive interview in Rochester, N.Y.'s City Newspaper, the NY Times' media reporter and incipient blogger doled out some advice for the industry that used to provide him with a paycheck. Alternative journalism is "lippy discourse plus culturally literate recommendations plus listings," he said. Problem is, the same "fundamental assets" are also available on the Web, where they're "far more searchable." So alt-weeklies need to do a "better job of putting their brand into digital realms," and they need to compete with the Web "to keep refreshing that sort of children's crusade of talented young reporters (that) make alternative newspapers vital." Carr isn't troubled by the New Times-VVM merger because he's "a fan of the New Times version of newspapering. They do very robust, city-oriented coverage that I think is a force for good, or at least accountability in the cities that they do them in."