Hank Sims, who was replaced as editor of North Coast Journal just over a week ago, has resigned.
The North Coast Journal has tapped veteran San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tom Abate to lead an ambitious expansion that will fuse the paper’s weekly print edition with its continuous online coverage.
In a letter to readers, NCJ publisher Judy Hodgson says, "It didn’t need that cover."
"About five years ago, Carolyn [Fernandez, the paper's production manager] and I began to craft a succession plan for the newspaper," publisher Judy Hodgson writes. "What would the ownership look like when we are no longer actively working? Who will be at the helm for the next 20 years?" To answer that question, the two co-founders did not have to go far. On Jan. 1, editor Hank Sims, sales manager Mike Herring and A&E editor Bob Doran became co-owners of the Journal; they are now minority stockholders while Fernandez and Hodgson retain majority control.
The new 60-minute A&E documentary examines the illegal pot growing scene in Arcata, Calif., and follows Humboldt County law enforcement officials "as they make busts and fly over forestlands searching for hidden marijuana groves," the network says. As eagle-eyed North Coast Journal editor Hank Sims points out, the trailer on YouTube has a special surprise guest. "I never thought that I'd be carrying a gun," one resident says about 20 seconds into the promo. And just where does said resident keep his trusty piece? On top of a copy of the North Coast Journal, of course! "Most creative recycling suggestion ever," Sims writes.
The Humboldt County alt-weekly provoked an angry response last week with a cover story revealing the names of citizens who have permits to carry concealed weapons in the county. The cover illustration of a handgun was composed of names supplied by the county sheriff's office of 641 individuals holding such a permit. The story has caused an "internet shitstorm," editor Hank Sims tells AAN News, as evidenced by the comments on the story itself and various online forums and blogs. Sims notes that the reaction online has been much harsher than his face-to-face encounters. "A number of local people called or came into the office last week a little bit angry, wondering how we got their name or why we should be allowed to publish the list. They were all very cool, and I had some great conversations," he says. "These out-of-town internet dudes are another matter."
The Arcata (Calif.) Mainstreet (AMS) has pulled all copies of last week's North Coast Journal from its periodical room and many of the businesses that belong to AMS have followed suit, the Arcata Eye reports. The paper was pulled for one week due to "the connection it made between very, very real needs of students and pot" in its back-to-school issue, says Taffy Stockton, AMS executive director. (The cover's subhead reads "Your student guide to housing, transit, surfing and weed.") Not everyone in town agrees with the position of AMS, though. A Humboldt State University public affairs officer tells the Eye that the university had no intention of removing any Journals from campus. "That would be Stalinist," Paul Mann says. North Coast Journal editor Hank Sims adds that banning his paper won't do much to reverse the cultural association of Humboldt County and pot. "Sorry, but that's what it's known for around the world," he says. "You can't close your eyes and make it go away." He added: "Humboldt County has a very high percentage of people who are pot smokers or are simply interested in the issue and we want those people as our readers."
Josh Kun's Feb. 15 cover story on Jorge Hank Rhon, the controversial mayor of Tijuana, was translated and reprinted by Proceso, a prominent Mexican newsmagazine. In addition, Mexico's largest newspaper, Reforma, printed a news item on the story. Rhon has been accused of ordering the assassination of a journalist who was investigating him -- his bodyguard was convicted of the murder -- so coverage of Rhon may carry a significant risk.