In the old days, when the media reported on problems in the newspaper industry, alternative newspapers weren't included. But alt-weeklies are immune no longer: In 2008, many AAN papers faced some of the same issues afflicting their mainstream brethren in the print media. However, you can still find alt-weeklies that had a pretty good year in 2008. That's just what AAN's editor Jon Whiten did, and he reports on 10 papers that increased revenue in a story published by Editor & Publisher.

Continue ReadingTen AAN Members That Bucked the Trends and Grew in ’08

The Springfield, Ill., alt-weekly last week debuted a new-look paper with larger pages and stich-and-trim binding. Times publisher Sharon Whalen says Topaz Design consulted on the project, but the Times design staff had a major hand in the redesign as well.

Continue ReadingIllinois Times Unveils Redesign

In an email, Roland Klose says he's leaving the paper in mid-August. Klose joined the Illinois Times in 2003, after a four-year stint at Riverfront Times. Prior to that, he had reporting and editing assignments at outlets including The Commercial Appeal of Memphis and The Tampa Tribune. "I've been doing journalism since the days of Jimmy Carter," Klose says. "I'm looking forward to a break, then diving into some projects I've put off for a long time."

Continue ReadingIllinois Times Editor Stepping Down

Four years after the AAN-member paper Illinois Times challenged an official police account of how a black officer responded to an incident involving rape, the case will finally go to court, reports the The State-Journal Register. Dusty Rhodes' series about the case in the Springfield, Ill. alt-weekly sparked public outrage and led a number of African-American cops to step forward in a group lawsuit against the city alleging racial discrimination. The so-called "black officers case" goes back to Halloween night, 2001, when a 35-year-old rookie cop named Renatta Frazier responded to a call at the apartment of the daughter of another police officer. Frazier was originally criticized for not doing enough to stop the assault, but the Illinois Times later showed that she was never in a position to do so.

Continue ReadingDiscrimination Case Triggered by Alt-Weekly Finally Sees Trial

A letter to the editor A letter to the editor of the state capital's alt-weekly outed the Green Party candidate for governor of Illinois as a one-time prominent leader of the Socialist Party. Rich Whitney, 51, later fessed up, telling the Daily Herald that he was serving as editor of the party's national newspaper when he resigned in 1993 due to ideological infighting. "I was a Socialist because in my political evolution, I've always cared about working people," Whitney says.

Continue ReadingGreen Candidate’s Socialist Roots Exposed in Illinois Times

A federal racial discrimination lawsuit by six officers against the Springfield Police Department casts new light on a 2002 Illinois Times report. The Springfield Journal-Register credits the alternative weekly article with debunking a departmental investigation of Renatta Frazier, an African-American officer, who later filed a discrimination suit. Before the article by Times staff writer Dusty Rhodes ran, local press had circulated SPD's official version of events for several months.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly’s Early Report Resonates in Racism Fray