With the purchase, The Dispatch Printing Company now owns the major daily newspaper, monthly magazine and alt-weekly in Columbus, Ohio.
In September, two media entrepreneurs launched U Weekly, an arts and entertainment paper for students at Ohio State University. As reported in the New York Times, U Weekly has faced resistance from university officials and from Ohio State's traditional, student-run newspaper, The Lantern. The Lantern's faculty advisor comes off as savvy, however, remarking that "competition in journalism is good because it raises the bar and gets folks thinking about how to differentiate publications from others." U Weekly's owners have successfully launched college weeklies in Baton Rouge, La., and Lexington, Ky., but Columbus already has two alternative weeklies with entertainment coverage: The Other Paper and Columbus Alive.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Saturday that its parent company completed the acquisition of the AAN-member paper that had been announced on Aug. 31. Michael J. Fiorile, president of the Dispatch Printing Co., says his company was looking at launching a weekly aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds when the opportunity to purchase Columbus Alive arose. According to a page on its Web site, in addition to the area's largest daily newspaper, Dispatch Printing owns several other electronic and print outlets in central Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports today that its publisher, Dispatch Printing Company, has signed an option to purchase Columbus Alive's name, logo and Web site, along with the weekly's advertising contracts and some of its office equipment. According to the report, Dispatch Printing will evaluate the AAN-member paper's operations and "barring the unforeseen," complete the purchase before the option lapses on Dec. 1. Dispatch Printing says it plans to build on Alive's most popular sections, columns and features, and the alt-weekly's 12 current employees will have an opportunity to apply for positions with the new owner. (The full report is available online only to Dispatch subscribers.)
They need to make a living but can't afford to let the conformity demanded by some day jobs sap their creative spirit. Independent Weekly's Leslie Land, Tucson Weekly's Marc Desilets and others explain the migration of musicians to the classified sales departments of alternative newsweeklies. What's the appeal? Good pay, good vibes -- altogether a decent daylight gig for a breed that Cincinnati CityBeat's Chuck Davis has dubbed "rawker-ad-hawkers."
Columbus Alive Inc. is launching an e-mail brand campaign to call attention to its five-month-old redesign, its new focus on arts and entertainment and its new name: Alive. Publisher Sally Crane says the ad sales have climbed about 18 percent since the campaign began and projects an additional 25 percent through the end of this year. Alive's 2002 ad sales were more than $1 million, Kathy Showalter of Business First of Columbus reports.