Editor Kevin Hoffman and art director Nick Vlcek talk to the Society of Publication Designers about this week's cover design, which uses Sarah Palin's Going Rogue as source material for a cover story (titled "Going Crazy") on Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. As we noted yesterday, Hoffman had said it was the first time in 30 years the paper had gone out without a logo on the cover; a decision that he and Vlcek say was a pretty easy one to come by. "We realized very quickly that in order to make the cover look as much like the book as possible, that we would have to forgo our logo," Hoffman says. "But it was worth it for the impact it would have on our readers."

At left, City Pages' 11/18 cover; at right, Sarah Palin's book cover.

Continue ReadingMore on City Pages’ Bachmann/Palin Mash-Up Cover

The Reader, named for the Twin Cities alt-weekly that closed in 1997, is a local news aggregator being developed as a separate entity from the paper's Blotter blog. "This is it's own product, and it's meant to be a hub for finding the most important stories in the Twin Cities quickly," City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman tells AAN News in an email. "Whereas Blotter is highly voice driven, this is more like a map where the reader decides where to visit." The Reader apes the look of the notorious Drudge Report, a move Hoffman says was intentional. "The Drudge Report has long been the top national aggregator online, even for people who don't agree with Drudge's politics," he says. "We think that this is the format that people are used to for aggregators, and wanted to do something similar for local news."

Continue ReadingCity Pages Launches ‘Twin Cities Reader’

At the paper's regular Friday meeting, Sally Freeman asked the staff to take a 10 percent cut in pay through the end of March to help ward off damage done by weak ad sales. "After the quick announcement, Freeman cried a little and then offered to meet with each of her workers individually," Weekly editor Nathaniel Hoffman reports. Freeman tells Hoffman that the paper's annual revenue is down 4 percent compared to 2007, and it came in $90,000 below budget in the last six to seven weeks.

Continue ReadingBoise Weekly Publisher Calls for Temporary Salary Cuts

Columbia Journalism Review assistant editor Jane Kim claims in a blog post that "one thing that was sorely lacking from the past two weeks of convention spotlighting was good alt weekly coverage." She then uses a couple of blog features from convention host-city papers Westword and City Pages to prove the "sad results" of "consolidation of the alt weeklies under VVM." In the comments section, Westword editor Patricia Calhoun argues that staff cartoonist Kenny Be, whose "Delegating Denver" series provided grist for Kim's critique, is "the town's best political columnist," adding that "to quote lines without the context of the artwork is hardly fair" when criticizing a cartoon. AAN executive director Richard Karpel, meanwhile, points out that both papers broke significant convention-related news prior to the conventions, and that several dozen other alt-weeklies had folks on the ground during the confabs. "It seems clear from the tone of this piece that Kim went in with a set of preconceived ideas -- the all-too-easy meme that corporate ownership leads to homogenization -- and wasn't going to let the facts get in her way at 4:42 p.m. on a Friday," City Pages' editor-in-chief Kevin Hoffman adds. Lastly, Village Voice Media executive associate editor Andy Van De Voorde takes Kim to task for "focusing on 'the various shades of Banana Republic grey' worn by the Palins" in her own work during the conventions, while City Pages reporters were arrested, roughed up, and pepper-sprayed as "a direct result of their decision to actually go out and cover news."

Continue ReadingCritic Pans Alt-Weekly Convention Coverage; Alts Fight Back

But Kevin Hoffman tells the Pioneer Press he wants the paper to be "more adventurous" and less partisan. "I'm probably a bit less ideological than my predecessor was," says Hoffman, who took over when Steve Perry resigned earlier this year. While City Pages co-founder Kris Henning decries "the corporatization" of the paper, staff writer Mike Mosedale says the major difference now is that Hoffman is more hands-on and runs a more disciplined newsroom than Perry.

Continue ReadingNew Editor Says City Pages Not Destined for Major Makeover

The Village Voice Media paper announced yesterday that Cleveland Scene managing editor Kevin Hoffman would replace Steve Perry, who resigned earlier this week. Former City Pages co-owner Tom Bartel (the brother of the paper's current publisher, Mark Bartel) tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he thinks Hoffman and present VVM management deserve a chance. "They've produced some terrific editors and stories over the years," Bartel says. "But anybody who comes in from out of town will have a certain learning curve. He needs to know the community he's covering."

Continue ReadingCity Pages Names New Editor