C-Ville Weekly is out to prove that even smaller-market publications without an in-house development team can produce digital journalism that is attractive, accessible, and affordable.
"A month ago we were enemies, hunkered down in bunkers and trying to will each other into starvation or surrender; today, we share the same fax machine and make small talk in the elevators," Frank Lewis says of the now-merged Cleveland Free Times and Scene. "And between deadlines and the seemingly endless details inherent in merging two operations -- packing and unpacking, integrating computer systems, finding the goddamn coffee -- there's just been no time to nurse grudges." He adds: "What matters most now is figuring out what to do with this rare opportunity -- in the Rust Belt, at least -- to leave behind the hand-to-mouth, week-to-week existence, the paranoia and bitterness, and figure out how to make the most of a more stable future."
"The idea, of course, is that with no competition to siphon off advertisers or keep ad prices rock-bottom, one alt-weekly might accomplish what the Free Times and Scene couldn't: make enough money to survive," Scene managing editor Joe Tone says of the recently announced merger. "And it's hard to bemoan the consolidation. Had they not become one, the two papers would have eventually become none." However, Tone notes that, for now, Cleveland "will lose some journalists." In addition to former editor Pete Kotz, who has already left for Nashville, Tone says staff writer Lisa Rab and food critic Elaine Cicora have departed. Frank Lewis, who last week was named the new paper's editor, reports on the Free Times blog that the other managers have been named. Sean Misutka and Joe Strailey have been plucked from the Scene to be ad sales manager and classified sales manager, respectively. And three additional Free Times managers have found homes at the new paper: Steve Antol is the circulation manager; Tim Divis is the business manager, and Steve Miluch is the production manager.
AAN News has learned that Frank Lewis has been named the editor of the Scene, which is being merged with the Free Times by new owners Times-Shamrock on July 23. The announcement was made to the two staffs yesterday. Former Scene editor Pete Kotz began his tenure as editor of the Nashville Scene this week. Lewis joined the Free Times in 2005 after serving as the Scene's managing editor. Before that, he spent close to seven years at the Philadelphia City Paper.