The South Carolina Press Association announced the winners of its 2007 news excellence competition Friday, and two AAN members were among the papers that were honored. Columbia Free Times finished first in three categories, including Mixed Media Illustration in the competition division open to all papers. In the weeklies division, Free Times swept the Illustrations category, placing first, second, and third; and took home a first-place award in Sports Column Writing. It also took home one additional second-place and one third-place award. The Charleston City Paper placed first in two categories -- Best Beat Reporting and General News Photo. City Paper also won one second-place and one third-place award.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Win Handful of South Carolina Press Awards

"It's a testament to the unending dedication of [founding publisher] Amy Singmaster that she continued to take on such tasks as delivery and small-time sales some seven years into the paper's existence," writes editor Dan Cook. "But it also speaks to how long it actually took for Free Times to reach a solid footing." Like many AAN papers, the Columbia, S.C., alt-weekly began its life as a biweekly in 1987, and has only grown since then. In 2004, the paper was bought by Portico Publications, which also owns C-Ville Weekly and Metro Spirit. "Twenty years into its history, Free Times is stronger than it’s ever been, now publishing larger issues and more of them -- 40,000 copies -- than it ever has," Cook writes.

Continue ReadingColumbia Free Times Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Career services coordinator Gina Boubion will attend this year's convention to talk to prospective students about mid-career programs at Columbia, and to connect with editors who are looking to hire both entry-level and more experienced journalists. "Every year more and more of our students come to Columbia to advance their investigative and narrative skills, and they've definitely gotten the message from us and their professors that the alt-weeklies are fertile ground for doing the kind of journalism they crave to do," Boubion says.

Continue ReadingColumbia J-School Makes Push to Connect With Alt-Weeklies

Corey Hutchins, editor in chief of the 17-month-old Columbia City Paper in South Carolina, discovered the damage from the fire in his home on Saturday. He then "announced that he will resign, effective immediately," according to a City Paper statement. Hutchins believes the incident is linked to his work on the newspaper, which has drawn criticism for reporting on a sexual discrimination lawsuit against a University of South Carolina department chair and for publishing the governor’s private telephone number in an editorial on the death penalty. "When the police showed up at the house after the fire, they asked me if I had any enemies," Hutchins said in the City Paper statement. "I told them I was the editor of the Columbia City Paper. I didn't exactly have to provide them with a list is what I'm saying."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Editor Resigns After Apartment Fire