"This is not a question of mere bad taste," Andrew Tarsy, the ADL's regional director and James L. Rudolph, chairman of the regional board of directors, said in a written statement about the Dig's annual "Kiddie Kroakers" feature, a satirical list of dangerous toys. The ADL says the Dig "exceeded the bounds of acceptable language” and resorted to "slurs in the name of humor" with items like a book called The Diarrhea of Anne Frank and Trivial Prosciutto, a board game "easy enough for Italians to play." The ADL is asking the Dig to apologize, but publisher Jeff Lawrence says no way. "We are the Weekly Dig. This is what we do,” he tells the Boston Herald. "We are known for pushing boundaries. We take on stereotypes and voodoo politics. At the end of the day, we are really trying to provoke people and get them to think."

Continue ReadingAnti-Defamation League Calls Weekly Dig Feature ‘Hateful’ & ‘Hurtful’

"In the next six months, the Dig will look a lot different, and sound a lot different," Jeff Lawrence tells Boston magazine in the second of a two-part interview (the first part is here). Last week, after the Dig and editor Michael Brodeur parted ways, managing editor Shaula Clark and staff writer Julia Reischel both gave the paper notice. For now, Lawrence will take over as editor of the paper, but says he has no plans for making that a permanent position. He's also aware of the implications of such a move. "This publication is not going to turn into some advertorial piece of shit," Lawrence says. "Quite the contrary."

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Publisher on What Follows Editorial Shake-Up

The city mag publisher "didn't do everything perfectly, but there was a ton of stuff it did that was genius," Jeff Lawrence tells Business Week. Metrocorp, which also owns Boston magazine, bought a majority interest in the Dig in 2004, and Lawrence bought the paper back earlier this year. After watching how the bigger company spun out new revenue streams from its numerous brands, Lawrence is now thinking about how to introduce new ventures like phone-based Web content, a quarterly arts publication, Boston travel and entertainment guides for the Gen Y set, and alternative newspapers in other New England towns, all under the Weekly Dig brand. "I had access to their executive meetings and knowledge and history," Lawrence says. "Entrepreneurs don't often get that kind of opportunity."

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig’s Founder on What He Learned from Metrocorp

Only a few years into its majority ownership of the Dig, Metrocorp Inc. and the paper have decided to part ways, the Herald reports. Metrocorp, which is also the publisher of Boston magazine, will sell the Dig back to founder Jeff Lawrence (pictured). "We never got a clear feeling that it was part of our DNA," says Metrocorp president David Lipson. "The Dig emerges independent with a higher circulation and greater recognition in the market, but also with more overhead, and without Metrocorp bankrolling the costs," the Herald notes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "Let's just say I'm not nearly as liquid a man as I was previously," Lawrence says.

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Founder to Buy Back Paper from Magazine Publisher

Jeff Lawrence (pictured) could care less that some law enforcement officials think escort ads are a front for prostitution. According to a recent piece in E&P, the president of Boston's Weekly Dig decided to remove the ads from his paper because he thought they were attracting too many 50-year-old white male suburbanites. "It's no different than if we started running ads for Geritol or Depends adult diapers," Lawrence tells E&P. "In terms of attracting readers, content is one thing, but the advertisements, too, are huge part of determining whether your readers are going to respond to your paper." Lawrence says the Dig also is considering whether to drop a couple of other categories that may not belong in the paper. "Advertisers like that you're protecting your demographic," he says, "They say, 'You're willing to give up revenue to stay on mission -- that's fantastic.'"

Continue ReadingDecision to Dump Escort Ads About Demographics, Not Morals, Says Dig

In a Feb. 1 editor's note, the Bay Guardian's executive editor responded to Craig Newmark's AAN West keynote by arguing that the Craigslist founder's "building community" rap is "bullshit," and that his creation is the online-classifieds equivalent of Wal-Mart. The blogospere responded quickly. Tech exec Anil Dash says he lost his job at the Village Voice when the paper's classified revenue was decimated by Craigslist: "I am exactly the person Redmond is ostensibly arguing on behalf of, and so I can say with certainty that he's profoundly wrong," writes Dash. At BuzzMachine, Jeff Jarvis calls Redmond's editorial "jealous whining," then seizes on his example of Burlington, Vt., as a community where Craigslist's arrival could hurt locally-owned media. After doing a quick once-over on Seven Days' Web site, Jarvis declares the Burlington alt-weekly insufficiently digital, which leads to comments from Seven Days writer and blogger Cathy Resmer (who blogged about Redmond, too) and co-publisher and editor Paula Routly, who writes, "If we're behind Craig Newmark technologically, it's because we’ve been busting our asses for ten years trying to put out an excellent newspaper that serves, and reflects, this community." Click here to watch the blogosphere stomp on Redmond in real-time.

Continue ReadingBloggers Reject Tim Redmond’s Craigslist-is-Wal-Mart Argument

Rather than accept a two-week suspension without pay, NY Press Editor in Chief Jeff Koyen resigned this morning. His departure comes on the heels of intense public criticism of a feature titled "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope" that ran in the paper last week. President and Publisher Chris Rohland tells Editor & Publisher that -- contrary to comments Koyen made to the Web site Gawker -- the suspension wasn't due to the Pope article itself but a related instance of insubordination.

Continue ReadingNew York Press Editor Quits

The Falmouth Forecaster, a community paper in Portland, Maine, reports that Face -- owned by the publishers of Portland Phoenix, Providence Phoenix and Boston Phoenix -- regularly runs articles by writers using pseudonyms. Among them is Sam Pfeifle, editor of both Face and Portland Phoenix, who has written numerous articles as "Simon Peterson." He explains: "It's meant to be a way to have some fun and allow ourselves creative outlets." The report also notes that Face's "masthead offers few clues to who is real and who is make-believe," with job titles "arranged as if the writers and ad reps are members of a band." (Chris Busby, the author of the piece, is the former editor of the now-defunct Casco Bay Weekly, which competed against Portland Phoenix.)

Continue ReadingMasquerading Media Men Manage Maine Music Mag

Sacramento News & Review president and CEO Jeff von Kaenel was sick of the Sacramento Bee offering advertisers huge discounts in Ticket, the daily's arts and entertainment weekly insert, reports Sacramento Business Journal. So he sent out 250 letters to Bee advertisers that weren't getting discounts -- that is, Bee advertisers that hadn't been poached away from the News & Review -- citing the cheaper rates and asking, "Are you paying this?" Von Kaenel tells SBJ that he sees the discounts as the Bee's attempt to "take us out," and that the daily is "engaging in practices I believe are suspect."

Continue ReadingNews & Review Launches Counterattack on the Sacramento Bee

When the Boston Red Sox won the American League Division Series last year, rioters burned newspaper sidewalk distribution boxes near Fenway Park. Anticipating similar activity during this year's AL Championship Series, police asked papers to remove the boxes. "We are in full compliance," says Boston Globe spokesman Maynard Scarborough. "This is larger than the sale of our newspaper -- it's a safety issue." Boston's Weekly Dig is also in full compliance, although publisher Jeff Lawrence supports "an organized riot where fans can be allowed to burn the street boxes in special areas." He maintains the Dig would gladly allow fans to destroy the boxes if it would help the team. "The least we can do is lose money for the Red Sox to win," he says.

Continue ReadingWeekly Dig Balks at Removing Boxes Near Ballpark