Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proposed capping at 300 the number of boxes a publisher could place in the city and charging them $25 per box per year, plus a $300 annual fee to receive a certificate of compliance, the Boston Globe reports. The ordinance would have to be approved by the City Council, which yesterday sent it to a committee. "We only have so much room on the sidewalk for news boxes," says a spokeswoman for Menino. "We think 300 news boxes per publication is generous in order to cover the city." City records show that no publication has 300 boxes yet, though several are close, including Boston's Weekly Dig, which currently has 284. Boston Phoenix circulation director Jim Dorgan tells the Globe the new fees are significant -- AAN's quick calculation shows that a publisher with the max of 300 boxes would pay $7,800 a year. He also says that another aspect of the ordinance, which precludes a publisher from having two news boxes for the same publication within 150 feet of each other, is "very restrictive."

Continue ReadingBoston Mayor Proposes New Rules & Fees for News Boxes

Both the Boston Phoenix and Boston's Weekly Dig have been "a springboard" for journalists from the university, BU Daily reports. Among the alums on the Beantown alt-weekly scene are Phoenix founder Stephen Mindich and senior managing editor Clif Garboden; Dig art director Tak Toyoshima and staff writer Chris Faraone; and countless others, including former Phoenix reporter Kristen Lombardi, who broke the story of Cardinal Bernard Law's protection of pedophile priests, and former Phoenix media critic Mark Jurkowitz, who is currently the associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "[BU] is a great resource for us," says Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence. "These kids come out with great energy and a sense that they want to do something different."

Continue ReadingBoston’s Alt-Weeklies Draw Heavily from Boston University Students

Michael Brodeur, who replaces Matt Ashare, will start his tenure at the Phoenix on March 31. "Since Michael started writing for the Phoenix this past year, I have come to know him as someone who is tirelessly searching out new musical experiences, and someone who sees music as a vital place where pop culture defines itself," says Phoenix editor Lance Gould. Brodeur left the Dig in a Sept. 2007 restructuring.

Continue ReadingBoston Phoenix Names Ex-Weekly Dig Editor as Music Editor

The Phoenix was named "Newspaper of the Year" in the alternative weekly division by the New England Press Association in its 2007 Better Newspaper Contest. "After 40 years, the Boston Phoenix remains a model for alts, bristling with attitude and loaded with coverage of entertainment, culture, politics, and tweaking of the daily press," the judges say. The Boston alt-weekly led the pack of AAN papers represented in the awards with 12 first-place finishes. Boston's Weekly Dig was close behind it's crosstown competitor, grabbing seven first-place awards. The Portland Phoenix and Worcester Magazine each finished first in three categories, while the Hartford Advocate and the Providence Phoenix each took home one first-place award.

Continue ReadingNEPA Names Boston Phoenix ‘Newspaper of the Year,’ Gives Alts Many Awards

While he has been the de facto editor since the fall, Jeff Lawrence says in a letter to readers that he's now officially editor. "Once again, we need to reinvent and recast our editorial voice, from the ground up," he says. In other Dig news, Laura Dargus has been named the paper's new managing editor after being the interim managing editor for a few months. Lastly, Cara Bayles will begin her tenure as news and features editor in a few weeks.

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Publisher Takes Over as Editor

"This is not a question of mere bad taste," Andrew Tarsy, the ADL's regional director and James L. Rudolph, chairman of the regional board of directors, said in a written statement about the Dig's annual "Kiddie Kroakers" feature, a satirical list of dangerous toys. The ADL says the Dig "exceeded the bounds of acceptable language” and resorted to "slurs in the name of humor" with items like a book called The Diarrhea of Anne Frank and Trivial Prosciutto, a board game "easy enough for Italians to play." The ADL is asking the Dig to apologize, but publisher Jeff Lawrence says no way. "We are the Weekly Dig. This is what we do,” he tells the Boston Herald. "We are known for pushing boundaries. We take on stereotypes and voodoo politics. At the end of the day, we are really trying to provoke people and get them to think."

Continue ReadingAnti-Defamation League Calls Weekly Dig Feature ‘Hateful’ & ‘Hurtful’

Due to a 2004 change in the association's bylaws, five papers that have taken on new majority owners in the past two years will have their AAN membership reviewed in 2008. The Membership Committee will evaluate The Other Paper, Boston's Weekly Dig, East Bay Express, Metro Pulse, and Cityview, and will issue a report to members a week before the 2007 annual convention. To retain their membership, each paper must be affirmed by at least one-third of the members voting at the annual meeting in Philadelphia, which is tentatively scheduled for June 7.

Continue ReadingMembership of Five Papers Up for Review in 2008

"In the next six months, the Dig will look a lot different, and sound a lot different," Jeff Lawrence tells Boston magazine in the second of a two-part interview (the first part is here). Last week, after the Dig and editor Michael Brodeur parted ways, managing editor Shaula Clark and staff writer Julia Reischel both gave the paper notice. For now, Lawrence will take over as editor of the paper, but says he has no plans for making that a permanent position. He's also aware of the implications of such a move. "This publication is not going to turn into some advertorial piece of shit," Lawrence says. "Quite the contrary."

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Publisher on What Follows Editorial Shake-Up