A Marine Corps veteran who has been struggling with mental-health issues has credited a story published in this week's Phoenix in Boston, Portland, and Providence with saving his life. Just hours after the story, "Soldiers Committing Suicide," hit the streets in Maine, the former Marine called the Portland office, thanking the paper for running the story and sharing his own ordeal of being out of meds he takes for his PTSD. Portland Phoenix managing editor Jeff Inglis recommended the vet contact a local counseling service, and the vet called again later saying he'd made the appointment. "You guys saved the life of a veteran," he said on a voicemail message. MORE: Read Inglis' account of the day here.

Continue ReadingVeteran Says Phoenix Story Saved His Life

The Globe's thesis is that "falling advertising revenue" is forcing weekly papers to "scale back dramatically." But Phoenix Media/Communications Group president Bradley Mindich says his publications don't fit that mold. "We are not cutting back," he tells reporter Johnny Diaz, who nevertheless intimates that the Boston Phoenix is using less color and sharing film reviews with its newly-acquired Spanish-language weekly to save money. "We actually have more color now" and cutting expenses is not the primary reason his papers are sharing content, Mindich tells AAN News. Weekly Dig publisher Jeff Lawrence says the story was mostly accurate but that it suffered from faulty framing: "Our business model is intentionally evolving -- not reacting to the economy," he tells AAN News.

Continue ReadingPublishers Take Issue With Boston Globe Report

Employees of the Asheville, N.C., alt-weekly will see an across-the-board cut in pay of between 5 and 10 percent effective Jan. 1, owner and publisher Jeff Fobes announced Friday. The paper has suffered a recent decline in classified and retail advertising, and Fobes expects the slide to continue in 2009. "Our strategy is to share the pain, so we're instituting a company-wide pay cut," he says. "Everyone feels the pain; everyone should have input into what must be an evolving response to the economy." ALSO FROM THE XPRESS: The paper recently discussed its web operations in a feature story on how local publications are dealing with online journalism.

Continue ReadingMountain XPress Implements Cost-Cutting Measures

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is requiring that all news boxes on its property be easy to check visually for security concerns. Boston Phoenix circulation director Jim Dorgan tells AAN News that the policy goes into effect next Friday, Dec. 12. He says that, as a result of the new regulations, the Phoenix and its related publications had to purchase more than 200 new boxes, which each cost $85 more than a regular news box. He also says the MBTA is requiring the boxes be chained, and that 12 inches of space separate each box. The Weekly Dig's Jeff Lawrence tells us that while his paper will eventually buy some clear boxes and put them in MBTA stations, for the most part, distributing outside on city streets is still cheaper and the best strategy for the Dig.

Continue ReadingBoston Transit Agency is Requiring Clear News Boxes

All of the members who have announced their candidacies are thus far running unopposed. However, AAN bylaws do not require individuals to declare their intention to run in advance. Any regular members who are interested in seeking a seat on the board can be nominated from the floor at the annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, June 7, during the association's annual meeting in Philadelphia. Read here to find out who has announced they are running, why they want to serve on the board, and what they view as the important issues facing AAN and its members.

Continue ReadingTen Candidates Running for Election to AAN Board of Directors

Facing increased scrutiny and concern over problems associated with freestanding news boxes, Mountain XPress distribution manager Sammy Cox (pictured) and publisher Jeff Fobes organized local publishers to form the Community Publishers Group (CPG). Members of the CPG now share the cost of purchasing and installing new multi-publication distribution units, which are installed in 36 locations throughout Asheville, N.C. According to Cox and Fobes, the new boxes conserve space and reduce clutter, and have pre-empted potentially harmful measures like news rack legislation. They spoke with AAN News recently by phone and email about the benefits these boxes and the CPG have had for Mountain XPress and the local publishing community.

Continue ReadingMountain XPress Spearheads Local Distribution Initiative

The predatory pricing trial is winding down and it is now expected that the case will go to the jury either Tuesday or Wednesday (the trial takes a day off today). On Friday, the SF Weekly's expert CPA, Everett P. Harry, continued his testimony and Jeff Mars, Village Voice Media's vice president for financial operations, also took the stand. The Guardian says the Weekly's witnesses "make the Guardian's case," while the Weekly says the Guardian's lawyers were focusing on "imaginary evidence." Meanwhile, Editor & Publisher columnist Mark Fitzgerald checks in on the trial, and on the daily blog dispatches from each side, and finds that "the Guardian and SF Weekly are covering the trial with reports that are gleefully unconcerned about appearing objective, and recall the great newspaper feuds of yesteryear."

Continue ReadingBay Guardian/VVM Trial Will Likely Go to the Jury This Week

In November, the Sacramento News & Review launched its Face to Face Video Ad project. The ads, which have also been rolled out at the company's paper in Chico and will soon hit its Reno paper, are serious, in-depth recorded interviews with vendors about their products and services. News & Review president and CEO Jeff von Kaenel says the idea was inspired by a vacation to India with his teenage daughter, who was shooting and editing video of the trip. "The video technology had gotten so easy to use," he says, it got him thinking about how the paper could take advantage of the technological leaps. So far, the initial reaction to the project has been promising, according to Susan Cooper, sales development manager at the Sacramento paper. In this Q&A with AAN News, she talks in more detail about the project.

Continue ReadingAdding Online Video to the Sales Toolkit

While he has been the de facto editor since the fall, Jeff Lawrence says in a letter to readers that he's now officially editor. "Once again, we need to reinvent and recast our editorial voice, from the ground up," he says. In other Dig news, Laura Dargus has been named the paper's new managing editor after being the interim managing editor for a few months. Lastly, Cara Bayles will begin her tenure as news and features editor in a few weeks.

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Publisher Takes Over as Editor