The Denver alt-weekly's search for a critic to review the region's medical marijuana dispensaries got another big news splash yesterday, thanks to an Associated Press story. The AP reports that Westword has received more than 120 applications for the position, with many people offering to write for free. The idea to hire a critic came from staff writer Joel Warner, who says he noticed how different the dispensaries were as he covered the medical marijuana industry. "Some really looked like your college drug dealer's dorm room. You know, Bob Marley posters on the wall and big marijuana leaf posters," he says. "But then some were so fancy, like dentist's offices. They had bubbling aquariums in the lobby and were so clean. I thought, somebody needs to review these. Somebody needs to tell people what these places are like."

Continue ReadingWestword Has Received More than 120 Applicants for Pot Critic Gig

Foodies at Creative Loafing (Atlanta), Riverfront Times, Westword, L.A. Weekly, East Bay Express, City Pages (Twin Cities), Phoenix New Times, and Houston Press picked up ten of the 21 nominations for which they qualified in the 2006 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards announced today. The complete list is available as a PDF here. Alt-weeklies were particularly dominant in the "Newspaper Writing on Spirits, Wine or Beer" category, in which all three nominees are AAN members. The awards recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the culinary arts.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Lap Up Nominations in Food-Writing Awards

Joel McNally has a new medium for the liberal views he regularly expresses in his Shepherd Express political column: He has been tapped to co-host the weekday morning show on WMCS-AM radio in Milwaukee. The Journal Sentinel describes WMCS as "focus[ing] on an African-American audience"; McNally, who is white, said, "We are in this thing together, and we are in this community together, and while the right-wing stations don't make it seem that way, black and white is the future of Milwaukee." The station manager told the newspaper that there may be "disparaging" callers "in the early going," but he hoped that new dialogue could result.

Continue ReadingShepherd Express Columnist Adds ‘Diversity’ to Black Radio Station