AAN members voted on several key matters during the association's annual meeting on Saturday, July 17. Eleven seats on the Board of Directors were filled, three publications were admitted into the association, and a bylaws amendment allowing online-only publications to apply for membership was passed by an overwhelming majority.

Continue ReadingAAN Opens Door to Non-Print Publications, Fills Eleven Board Seats

With medical marijuana dispensaries growing like pot plants in all areas of California, the business has become quite competitive in areas like Sacramento, KCRA-TV reports. To get ahead, many shops are advertising in the Sacramento News & Review, where the TV station reports there are many ads that include perks like free lighters and delivers, and even free grams. While the daily Sacramento Bee and more conservative Sacramento Magazine don't run dispensary ads, News & Review CEO Jeff von Kaenel says he's got no problem with doing so, adding that about 15 percent of the paper's ads are currently medical marijuana-related. "It reflects the values we have at the News & Review," he says. "We let our readers make up their own minds about things. They're mature enough, and we don't want to be a censor of business in Sacramento."

Continue ReadingSacramento News & Review Selling Lots of Medical Marijuana Ads

Managing editor Jon Elliston will leave the Asheville alt-weekly in mid-April to write a book based on his 2008 Xpress story about a short-lived summer camp that was attacked and run out of the state in 1963. Elliston, who started contributing to Xpress in 2003 and was hired as news editor in 2005 and subsequently became managing editor, says his departure is "bittersweet" but necessary. "I had dreamed of writing this book in my spare time, but that's proved impossible," he says. "It's a story that's begging to be told, and it's become clear that in order to do it right, I'll need to make it my primary endeavor for at least six months or so." Meanwhile, Xpress staff writer Brian Postelle will start a new job next week doing PR for the city of Asheville, and multimedia editor Jason Sandford recently left the paper to work on his popular local blog. "These are major changes in our news staff, which have put us all in high gear. We're losing some strong news personnel," publisher Jeff Fobes says. "But Xpress has come through a number of staff changes over the years -- and we've managed to learn and grow from them."

Continue ReadingTop Editor Will Leave Mountain Xpress

After a few years and a few million dollars, the paper is finally moving into its new office -- a former supermarket that it purchased and renovated using green-building standards. As News & Review publisher Jeff vonKaenel points out, the move wouldn't have been possible without about $2 million in grants, loan guarantees and other incentives from the city -- but he says that doesn't mean the paper will all of a sudden go soft in its coverage of the city and its redevelopment agency. "During my 36 years as a newspaper publisher, there have been many instances where regular advertisers have called me to complain about a story and to cancel their advertising," he writes. "Our business relationship with the city is no different."

Continue ReadingSacramento News & Review Gets Ready to Move

Local TV station KCRA reports that the News & Review is "getting through the recession better than others" like Sacramento's daily, the Bee, which, like so many other daily newspapers, has laid off scores of staffers in the past few years. "We took a dip last year but it's really picking up, and as things for the dailies get worse it's going to get even better for us," News & Review president and CEO Jeff von Kaenel tells the station.

Continue ReadingSacramento News & Review is Holding Strong Despite the Downturn

in 1996, Jeff vonKaenel wrote a widely discussed piece predicting that most daily newspapers would be out of business in ten years. Although his timing was off, there's no question he nailed the trajectory. Now he's back to ask, What comes next? His "guess" and "hope" is that weekly newspapers will survive as "a viable economic model," and journalism that is "more cutting-edge, more controversial ... (and) less locally based" will flourish online through the joint support of nonprofits, corporations and individual citizens.

Continue ReadingNews & Review Publisher: What Will Remain After the Dailies Go Away?

After running the monthly "activist publication" Green Line for seven years, Jeff Fobes launched Mountain XPress on Aug. 10, 1994. The Asheville, N.C., weekly takes a look back with a special issue featuring a timeline of milestones and commentaries from ad director James Fisher and Fobes, who discusses -- among other things -- the shift from monthly to weekly. "[It] was an astonishing experience. The pace picked up fourfold, and it never let up," he writes. "Our tiny staff lived and breathed the audacity of the effort, working for paltry pay (though we had, thankfully, closed the multiyear chapter of working for no pay)."

Continue ReadingMountain XPress Celebrates 15th Anniversary