Mobile publishing company Verve Wireless today announced its end of year milestones, noting that 100 million mobile news pages were served in December 2009 -- a 160 percent increase year over year. The company says local news continues to be the most accessed mobile content, but that breaking world or national stories -- like the death of Michael Jackson, for example -- are driving the largest traffic spikes. Verve also notes that mobile video is a growing field, with viewership growing by 106 percent in the past three months.

Continue ReadingVerve Wireless: Mobile News Access Growing; Local News Most Popular

Marty Petty, who was named the six-paper company's first post-bankruptcy CEO in November, has been dubbed one of the people to watch in the Tampa Bay business scene by the St. Petersburg Times. "Petty has her work cut out for her. Any newspaper is a business challenge in these lean days. Creative Loafing faces direct competition from tbt* Tampa Bay Times, the free, Monday-through-Friday alt-like tabloid that belongs to the St. Petersburg Times," the Times reports. "But Petty, 57, now controls a geographically diverse audience with five other alts published in Sarasota, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, DC. Let the games begin."

Continue ReadingNew Creative Loafing CEO Named One of ‘Ten People to Watch’ in 2010

Petty, the former publisher of the St. Petersburg Times and the Hartford Courant, has been named the new chief executive officer of the six-paper Creative Loafing chain. She will succeed Richard W. Gilbert, who has been interim CEO since the company emerged from bankruptcy. "I'm invigorated by the possibilities to deepen relationships with our readers and advertisers and expand our influence in our communities," she says in a release. "The coverage areas which have differentiated and distinguished the alternative press historically may be more important than ever." MORE from Creative Loafing (Tampa).

Continue ReadingMarty Petty Named New CEO of Creative Loafing, Inc.

Nashville-based SouthComm purchased the Scene from Village Voice Media last month, and has swiftly been making changes. Former managing editor and longtime staffer Jim Ridley has taken over as editor, and the paper rolled out a glossy look this week. In addition, SouthComm has brought all editorial staffers of its Nashville properties (it owns The City Paper, and a handful of smaller print publications) under one roof, and done the same -- in a different building -- for business-side staff. Scene writer Bruce Barry says Nashville is "the alpha test" of SouthComm's publishing theory, which involves owning a unique blend of niche publications in a single market. Barry also points out that many SouthComm higher-ups are "very conservative" and wonders how that might affect the alt-weekly going forward.

Continue ReadingNew Owners Bring Changes to Nashville Scene

St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans says that Creative Loafing should, among other things, "get some aggressive, entertaining name writers back in the house" and "break news, especially news mainstream outlets won't report." He says alt-weeklies are well-positioned to do the latter. "An alternative newspaper often does its best work holding accountable those who hold others accountable," Deggans writes. "There's a multitude of civic issues at hand that a grass roots alternative newspaper could grab hold of, and explore in new ways; doing that in a provocative, localized way builds the brand tremendously."

Continue ReadingMedia Critic: Here are Four Ways to ‘Improve Things’ at Creative Loafing

After Atalaya gained control of the six-paper company in bankruptcy court last week, several of the new board members met with staff at Creative Loafing (Atlanta). "I want your ideas," Jim O'Shea told them. "I want to hear from you. And I'll do everything in my power to make sure we're sitting here two, five, 10 years from now with more resources, more people, better salaries and more of a future." O'Shea, a former Los Angeles Times editor, will advise Atalaya on editorial strategy while former Des Moines Register president Richard Gilbert will be interim CEO. The Atlanta staff "applauded the sentiments" expressed by O'Shea, Thomas Wheatley reports. "After the meeting, one staffer likened the mood in the room to the elation with which liberals greeted the inauguration of President Barack Obama after eight years of George W. Bush."

Continue ReadingNew Creative Loafing Board Members Meet the Atlanta Staff

Managing partner Michael Bogdan tells the Chicago Tribune that without the crushing debt, Creative Loafing is now generating positive cash flow, which will allow the individual papers to hire new employees "to fill holes where they need to grow." He acknowledges that despite all the promises, employees at the six-paper company will likely remain skeptical of Atalaya. "I don't expect people to trust me right now," he says. "The proof's in the pudding." MORE: Chicago Reader associate publisher Steve Timble discusses the sale and the new media landscape on WTTW's Chicago Tonight TV show.

Continue ReadingAtalaya: CL Generating Positive Cash Flow, Will ‘Fill Holes’ Soon

"Maybe we should have been smarter, or less starry-eyed about it, but we thought and hoped Eason would succeed," says Mike Lenehan, who owned a small part of the Reader before it was sold to Eason. "I don't think there would have been much sentiment to do [the deal] if we thought he'd turn out to be Ben Eason. Maybe we should have known better -- but that's what we thought." MORE: Reader media columnist Michael Miner discusses the paper's future with Chicago Public Radio, and Creative Loafing (Tampa) publisher Sharry Smith has sent out a memo calling Atalaya's acquisition of the company "a very positive development." (AAN News has been told the memo was drafted by all of the CL publishers together.)

Continue ReadingFormer Chicago Reader Editor Reflects on Sale to Ben Eason

At today's equity auction, federal bankruptcy judge Caryl E. Delano gave control of Creative Loafing, Inc. to the company's largest creditor, Atalaya Capital Management. Atalaya's all-cash bid of $5 million won out over Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason's bid of $2.32 million in cash and other securities. The deal is expected to close within 10 days. We've got a roundup of all the news here.

Continue ReadingCreditor Gains Control of Creative Loafing