Last week, "at the tail end of one of the few weeks in the past year in which we did not publish anything snarky about anybody, someone threw two gallons of paint on our front doors," Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly writes. "Seems a waste; we hadn't even earned it. Nonetheless, we were cleaning up all morning."
The Louisville Eccentric Observer was acquired by SouthComm Communications, a company headed by former Scene publisher Chris Ferrell, according to LEO. The change was announced to staff this morning. Pam Brooks will stay on as publisher, but other LEO staffers were not so lucky. Brooks told a local blog that editor Cary Stemle, sales director Kelly Gream, and two other employees weren't offered positions with the new company. SouthComm, which was formed late last year, owns a custom publishing company based in Atlanta, as well as various Nashville websites and magazines.
He replaces Pat Kelly, publisher for the past six years, who "traded our local glitz for a beachcomber's life in Mexico," according to the Weekly. Spotleson, who helped launch the Weekly in 1998, has also worked on the editorial side within the New Times chain. There have been other moves in the paper's offices recently. Sales manager Nelson Oshita is now associate publisher, and the paper picked up two new staffers from Las Vegas Life: managing editor Ken Miller and associate editor T.R. Witcher.
In a press release issued this afternoon, Village Voice Media says it is selling its Emeryville-based paper to an investment group led by current editor Stephen Buel, AAN veteran Hal Brody, and Express co-founder Kelly Vance. Monterey County Weekly founder and CEO Bradley Zeve is also one of the investors. Brody, who owned Pitch Weekly in Kansas City until he sold it to New Times in 1999, will take over as publisher. The Express, which was founded in 1978, has been owned by New Times/VVM since 2001. "It's great that Hal and Steve will be taking over the Express," VVM chief executive officer Jim Larkin says. "They are amazingly talented people who will devote themselves to continuing the paper's excellence." Editing the Express "is the best job I've ever had," Buel says. "It will be an honor to build upon the legacies left by the founders and Village Voice Media."
AAN members are well-represented in the 2006 awards given out by the Education Writers Association, with a near-sweep of "Feature, News Feature or Issue Package" for papers under 100,000 circulation. In that category, Todd Spivak of the Houston Press took home First Place for "Cut Short," while Special Citations were awarded to Willamette Week's Beth Slovic for "Illegal Scholar," the Houston Press' Margaret Downing for "Opt In, Opt Out," and New Times Broward-Palm Beach's Kelly Cramer for "FCAT Scratch Fever." Kristen Hinman of Riverfront Times received a First Place award in the "Investigative Reporting" category for her Vashon High School Series.
Geoff Kelly has returned to his former job as editor of Artvoice, according to representatives of the Buffalo, NY-based alt-weekly. Kelly recently returned from the Middle East after serving for two years as senior media officer for the Qatar Foundation. Before that he served briefly as the editor of the now defunct Pulp, an arts and entertainment paper in Pittsburgh. Artvoice also announced that Lauren Newkirk Maynard has left her position as managing editor and associate music editor Mark Norris has been promoted to replace her.
Restaurant Reviewer Jim Dixon is under fire for his negative review of Portland's Castagna. Dixon summarized his own review thusly: "So what's my problem? In a word: salt." The restaurant owners then sent a 50-pound salt lick and a letter to the editor drawing attention to Dixon's side business importing and selling sea salt. Willamette Week's Nov. 2 issue contains two letters slamming Dixon and editor Kelly Clarke, as well as a lengthy response from Dixon in which he announces that a disclaimer will be added to future reviews. The commotion has been sufficient to draw the attention of the Portland Tribune.