Reader media columnist Michael Miner reports that publisher Michael Crystal resigned from the paper yesterday. The interim publisher is Kirk MacDonald, who is chief operating officer of Creative Loafing, Inc. He expects to spend three days a week in Chicago, according to the Reader. Steve Timble, the founding publisher of Time Out Chicago, has been named the new associate publisher, and is "Crystal's heir apparent," according to Miner. Crystal, who had been publisher since 2004, will move back to Seattle. "[He] was an unruffled sort of executive whose manner recalled the good old days at the Reader, when there was nothing much to get ruffled about," Miner writes. "Those of us who remember those days remember them fondly." In other Reader news, this week the paper launches a pullout music section and additional design updates.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Publisher Resigns

DCist reports that City Paper's parent company Creative Loafing needs to cut the paper's budget by $170,000. The belt-tightening could lead to additional layoffs at the alt-weekly (some production and editorial staffers were laid off after CL purchased City Paper and the Chicago Reader last year). "Like a lot of media companies, we are going through an exceptionally rough period, and indeed we are discussing how to cut expenses," editor Erik Wemple tells DCist. "I don't want to cite any figures at this point because we are trying our best as a company to minimize the impact. But yes, layoffs are part of the discussion."

Continue ReadingMore Staff Cuts Could Be On the Horizon at Washington City Paper

"Books coverage at American daily newspapers is asphyxiating. That's the bad news," writes Washington City Paper's Mark Athitakis. "Here's more bad news: The situation is just as dire at alternative weeklies." He goes on to cite the cost-cutting that occurred when Creative Loafing purchased City Paper last year as an example. But he says there are reasons to be optimistic about alt-weeklies. "We've taken one hell of a beating, but our basic mandate -- to give people informed and lively coverage of subjects that often fall outside the larger media's radar -- remains intact," Athitakis writes. "And books are still part of that mandate." He wraps up his post by listing some tips for any critics hoping to contribute to alt-weeklies.

Continue ReadingCity Paper Arts Editor on the State of Book Coverage at Alt-Weeklies

CL's Atlanta editor Ken Edelstein reports that he laid off two editorial staffers on Monday: Senior editor Scott Freeman and senior writer David Lee Simmons. In addition, the St. Petersburg Times reports that CL's Tampa paper has let go of Lance Goldenberg, who'd been a freelance film critic for the paper for 19 years. In his statement, Tampa editor David Warner said that the hole in film coverage will be filled with staff writers from CL's newly acquired papers in Chicago and Washington.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing Lays Off Two Staffers and One Freelance Critic

The Associated Press, which has used Verve for mobile publishing since May, led the way in the company's second round of financing, the New York Times reports. "Mobile is actually a better way to reach people than print or even web. It's versatile, immediate, travels and is just as compelling," Verve CEO and former Village Voice Media president Art Howe says. One analyst tells the Times that newspapers need to tap into the fast-growing mobile market before it's too late. "It's important and smart for newspapers to get out in front on the mobile phenomenon and not make the mistake they made in waiting too long to embrace the internet," says Greg Sterling, who studies the mobile internet for Opus Research.

Continue ReadingThe AP Leads $3 Million Round of Financing for Verve Wireless

CL's publications in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Charlotte and Sarasota have joined the company's Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper as members of Ruxton, according to a press release issued this afternoon by Village Voice Media's national advertising firm. Under the arrangement, Ruxton will serve as Creative Loafing's exclusive representative for national print advertising and also will provide non-exclusive representation for online advertising.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing’s Southern Papers Join Ruxton Media Group

Creative Loafing has named Jonathan Maziarz as editor of the Sarasota edition. He succeeds Max Linsky, who has been named manager and online editor for Creative Loafing's corporate office. "With nearly 500 columns under his belt, Maziarz has edited newspapers in the mountains of Colorado, the shores of Lake Tahoe and, most recently, on the coast of Georgia," according to a press release. "I admire the Creative Loafing philosophy of providing a serious alternative to the mainstream media, mixing a strong sense of community with an independent spirit and a sense of humor," Maziarz says in the release. "I am ready to bring my experience, leadership and enthusiasm to the CL team."

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing (Sarasota) Names New Editor

Metro and Boulevards are joining forces with a Bay Area NBC affiliate, two leading local citizen journalism sites, and the news aggregator Topix to create "a wide-ranging community-based news initiative ... that will span print, web, citizen journalism and broadcasting." Stories from Metro will be available for the broadcast partners to use, and stories from the citizen journalism sites and the TV network will be excerpted in a new section called "Mashup!" in Metro's print edition. "We are concerned about the consolidation, layoffs and disinvestment in local publishing and want to make sure that communities here are well covered," Dan Pulcrano, executive editor of Metro and CEO of Boulevards, says in a statement. "We will be expanding our news coverage and adding resources."

Continue ReadingMetro Newspapers & Boulevards Launch Virtual Valley Network

The Metro Newspapers CEO is "one of the few publishers that have successfully navigated the treacherous straights between print media and the new world online," the trade magazine Domain Name Journal says in a cover profile. The story concentrates on Pulcrano's creation of Boulevards New Media and his acquisition of a "near priceless portfolio that includes 20 of the 30 largest American city names in the .com extension." But Pulcrano also talks about how he got into journalism and ended up creating Metro Newspapers in the first place. He started publishing underground papers at age 11, later reported for the San Diego Reader, and then was approached by Jay Levin to help launch the L.A. Weekly when he was 19 years old. "Working there was life changing for me too; from that point on I knew what I wanted to do," he says of his stint at the Weekly.

Continue ReadingHow Dan Pulcrano Went from Print Publisher to Web Pioneer