In the wake of an ad salesperson's arrest on charges of promoting prostitution, the Scene has suspended the personal adult services section of its classified pages. During the suspension, incoming publisher Chris Ferrell will thoroughly review the paper's procedures for running such ads. The decision was made after an undercover police investigation resulted in the arrest of Nels Noseworthy, the Scene's adult ad salesperson, office assistant and receptionist. The probe has its roots in a crackdown on prostitution that began in the late '90s, writes Scene reporter Matt Pulle.

Continue ReadingNashville Scene Suspends Adult Ads During Review

The cover of the Oct. 13 edition of Riverfront Times features an aerial photograph of 57 naked women arranged to form a peace sign -- an image meant to bring attention to an antiwar arts event in St. Louis, Mo., called "Peace Out!" According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, several businesses have removed copies of the alt-weekly from display shelves -- and at least one did so after a visit from local police. Riverfront Times editor Tom Finkel says, "We put it out there knowing it was a provocative image, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a police department would take actions to remove the publication from a newsstand."

Continue ReadingRiverfront Times’ Fleshy Cover Gets Cops Hot and Bothered

New Times writer John Dougherty has filed 17 public records requests with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County, Ariz., Office -- and received nothing in return. So, when Dougherty ran into Lisa Allen MacPherson, public information officer for the sheriff's office, he asked her when the records would be produced. "Never," she replied, adding that her office did not recognize New Times as a legitimate paper. When Dougherty reminded her that all citizens have the right to review public records, MacPherson quipped, "So sue us!" The weekly filed suit in Superior Court on Sept. 23, asking that Arpaio and his office be ordered under Arizona law to produce requested documents.

Continue ReadingPhoenix New Times Files Suit Against Sheriff for Public Records

Wayne Laugesen of Colorado's Boulder Weekly believes there are times when a member of the media must cease being a spectator and take action. As such, he traded his usual pen for a sledgehammer and smashed a bunch of windows, reports Westword media critic Michael Roberts. Laugesen felt that an order directing homeowner Paul Wenig to reinstall antiquated windows he'd removed from his historic residence needlessly endangered two children who lived there. To Laugesen, destroying the windows was the obvious solution. Of the incident, he wrote in his Sept. 9 column: "Every broken window was a score for fatherhood, husbandry, and God-given liberty."

Continue ReadingBoulder Weekly Columnist Hammers Home a Point

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Dallas Observer in a lawsuit brought by two Denton County public officials, reports the Houston Chronicle. Judge Darlene Whitten and District Attorney Bruce Isaacks sued the paper for libel over a satire published in 1999. The piece, titled "Stop the Madness," was a parody of the actual arrest of a 13-year-old girl for reading a graphic Halloween story to her class. The Supreme Court backed its 8-0 ruling by saying that a reasonable reader of the entire article about a fictional 6-year-old girl's arrest would realize it was not true and was intended as satire.

Continue ReadingObserver Article is Protected Speech, Court Rules

Pittsburgh Catholic apparently believes that its hometown alt-weekly should be wrapped in a brown bag and handed out from behind the counter. "We need to ensure that our children are protected from unhealthy and exploitative images of sexuality," says a representative of the local diocese who thinks it's "unconscionable" that Pittsburgh City Paper is openly distributed in public. “I’m not running a day care center,” City Paper editor Andy Newman tells the paper. “I have a newspaper, and I feel like other people are responsible for supervising their own children.”

Continue ReadingCatholic Paper Questions Alt-Weekly’s Availability to Children

Alt-weeklies may have to stop branding themselves as the papers unafraid to print the word "fuck." Editor Ben Fulton says Salt Lake City Weekly was briefly kicked out of Wal-Mart "because we used the f-bomb in our paper," Glen Warchol reports in The Salt Lake Tribune. City Weekly lost a week's distribution at the chain after a self-identified Christian stumbled upon the word in its pages and complained to the store's regional managers. Wal-Mart let the paper return based on promises of increased vigilance about the use of profanity.

Continue ReadingWeekly Resolves Not to Use Word That Offended—Except in Quotes

Some Cincinnati police officers claimed to be in two places at once so they could double-bill the city and the public housing authority, Leslie Blade reported in CityBeat on Dec. 10. Now the Cincinnati City Council wants to ask her questions about the scandal so badly it voted 5-4 last week to subpoena her. CityBeat Editor/Co-Publisher John Fox criticizes the decision to make a journalist an investigative tool of government.

Continue ReadingCincinnati City Council Votes to Subpoena CityBeat Reporter