New Times, which got its start in 1970 as a reaction to the Kent State shootings, hosted a party over the weekend to celebrate 40 years in existence. Native Arizonan and former alt-weekly writer and NPR editor Bill Wyman takes the anniversary occasion to look back and take stock of what New Times has built; it was the first paper started by Michael Lacey, who now oversees the Village Voice Media chain with business partner Jim Larkin. After saying he has "no reason to suck up" to Lacey and Larkin, Wyman concludes: "Aren't they everything we supposedly value about the press in the U.S.? They are idiosyncratic and uncorruptible, uncompromising and fearless; unlike a lot of places that adopt the motto, Lacey and Larkin really do print the news and raise hell. And as this troubled time for a troubled industry continues, they just may end up being the last men standing."

Continue ReadingPhoenix New Times Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Village Voice Media Holdings' Voice Local Network has tapped Analog Analytics to provide a local coupon solution for its publications. The company's software offers interactive coupons for local online publishers and advertisers, as well as a scalable platform to integrate and optimize the performance of both traditional advertising like print with online interactive and mobile. "We are constantly seeking ways to enhance and extend local online advertising, going beyond our own sites," VVM president and COO Scott Tobias says in a release. "Interactive coupons in all media are very effective and Analog Analytics does an excellent job in providing this technology."

Continue ReadingVoice Local Network to Use Analog Analytics for Coupons

In a note to readers published last week in Phoenix New Times, Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin say that VVM is underwriting the cost of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona's forthcoming litigation against the state's new and controversial immigration law, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. "Arizona has chosen to insist that all law enforcement in the state adopt the police-state tactics of infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio," write Lacey and Larkin, who both have been the target of Arpaio, before inviting New Times readers to chip in to help the ACLU fight the new law. "We would like to extend an invitation to you, our readers, to join in this struggle against the cracker policies of Arizona politicians and certain elements within law enforcement typified by Sheriff Arapio."

Continue ReadingVVM Underwriting Legal Challenge to Arizona Immigration Law

California Superior Court Judge Marla J. Miller ruled on Tuesday that she has no authority to amend a 2008 predatory-pricing judgment since the case is already pending before the California Court of Appeal. The San Francisco Bay Guardian had asked the court to include Village Voice Media LLC and Village Voice Media Holdings LLC, as part of its efforts to collect the money it was awarded in the judgment against SF Weekly. The Weekly has refused to pay the $21 million it owes the Guardian, saying it will pay once it exhausts its options to appeal.

Continue ReadingJudge Won’t Include SF Weekly Parent Co. in ’08 Judgment

San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond writes that while he thought Eli Sanders' recent story on the feud between the Guardian and SF Weekly in The Stranger was mostly right, he faults Sanders (and others) for casting the legal battle as a clash of egos. "The thing is, Bruce [Brugmann] and Mike [Lacey] haven't hated each other for decades," Redmond writes. "They weren't terribly close, but they got along fine -- and sometimes, they were political allies." He points to their unlikely alliance at the 1997 AAN Convention (three years after New Times purchased SF Weekly) to push a bylaws measure (and digs up a photo of the two arm-in-arm) as proof. "They were almost, sorta, kinda pals," he writes. "At least for a few minutes."

Continue ReadingBay Guardian Editor: The SF Weekly Suit ‘Wasn’t Personal’

The legal battle between the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the SF Weekly is "a war straight out of the last century in its ruthlessness and its destructive potential," writes The Stranger's Eli Sanders in a 10,000-plus word cover story this week. The piece covers a lot of ground, but frames the battle as one between two alt-titans: Bay Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann and Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey. "These two men have hated each other for decades," Sanders writes, "but with increasing venom since 1995, when Lacey showed up in San Francisco in cowboy boots to announce that he and his partners had just purchased the tiny SF Weekly and planned to make a huge success of it."

Continue ReadingThe Stranger Looks at ‘The Crazy Alt-Weekly War in San Francisco’

A lawsuit filed by the Bank of Montreal on behalf of a group of institutional lenders seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction to stop the San Francisco Bay Guardian's efforts to collect millions of dollars from SF Weekly as part of 2008's predatory-pricing jury verdict. Last week, a Superior Court commissioner ruled that the Guardian is entitled to half of the Weekly's ad revenue; the banks are arguing that they have the first legal right to any money made by the Weekly. Meanwhile, The Stranger reports that it has court filings that show Weekly parent company Village Voice Media Holdings has been declared in default on an $80 million loan it has from the Bank of Montreal. This comes as the Weekly is asking for a separate restraining order to stop the Guardian from sending letters to Weekly advertisers; they say advertisers have been receiving conflicting notices from the Guardian and Bank of Montreal about who has first rights to the Weekly's revenue. In a court filing, the Weekly's lawyer says the confusion, if allowed to continue, "is likely to devastate SF Weekly's advertising business beyond repair."

Continue ReadingSF Weekly’s Banks File Suit Against the Bay Guardian

"We're hoping you can lean back with this thing, curl up on the couch and take it into the bathroom and read it," the digital director for Village Voice Media Holdings said at Saturday's "iPad: New Opportunities for Content Creators" session at SXSW. Jensen thinks the iPad will help publishers who value quality design and journalism, by giving them a more visual platform to work with than the general web. "It's going to bring back nice-looking design, and good-looking ads, too," he said.

Continue ReadingBill Jensen Talks iPad at SXSW Panel

A Superior Court commissioner has ruled the San Francisco Bay Guardian is entitled to half the advertising revenue of the SF Weekly to help collect $21 million in damages after a 2008 jury verdict of illegal price-cutting. Guardian attorney Jay Adkisson says the ad revenue would be "a very significant" amount -- potentially as much as $200,000 a month. Meanwhile, the Weekly's parent company, Village Voice Media Holdings (VVMH), will ask a state appeals court to overturn the ruling. VVMH executive associate editor Andy Van De Voorde says the Weekly will stay in business regardless. The Weekly is also currently in the midst of a separate appeal of the verdict. MORE from Westword.

Continue ReadingCourt: Bay Guardian Gets Half of SF Weekly’s Ad Revenue