One year after New Times LA was shuttered, several new papers are scrambling to compete in the cramped quarters not already occupied by a fatter LA Weekly, according to the local business journal. "The LA Weekly is a Goliath ... But there is still a way to make money, even by picking up their crumbs,” says former employee turned competitor, Jim Kaplan. Southland Publishing's Charles Gerencser says the Village Voice Media paper, which recently published a phone-book size "Best of", was becoming “publishing’s version of urban sprawl.”

Continue ReadingNew Players Nibbling Around the Edges of Growing LA Weekly

Sara Catania, staff writer at LA Weekly, is one of 12 journalists awarded John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford University for the 2003-04 academic year. During their stay at Stanford, the Knight Fellows design independent courses of study and participate in special seminars. Catania will pursue her interests in mental illness and criminal law.

Continue ReadingLA Weekly Writer Heading to Stanford

Howard Blume says no "upstart" among the "lower-budget alternatives" springing up in the LA Basin will challenge LA Weekly citywide. The paper has fired Valley Business Printers, owner of its newest competitor, Southland Publishing Co., Blume reports. Southland purchased the assets of the closed New Times LA, plans a summer launch of weeklies in L.A. and the Valley, and has hired Editorial Art Director Dana Collins away from LA Weekly. Plus former LA Weekly Publisher Michael Sigman is consulting with Southland, Blume writes.

Continue ReadingLA Weekly Dissects Competitors

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley calls a column by LA Weekly's Harold Meyerson and a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal written by New Times' Michael Lacey "self-interested positions staked out by those who are directly affected by this investigation." Cooley claims he reads LA Weekly "because it is a valuable news organ" and says New Times LA was "occasionally very funny, on occasion very insightful, on occasion very cruel." He argues that "It's wrong ... to attribute political motives to government agencies that are just doing their jobs. ... we're at the investigative stage. At the end of the exercise, there may be a determination that what's been uncovered falls short of establishing a violation of the law."

Continue ReadingLA Prosecutor Responds to Meyerson, Lacey

The Justice Department's investigation of the Village Voice Media-New Times deal to close weeklies in Cleveland and Los Angeles is apparently driven by a concern "that the assisted suicide of New Times in Los Angeles reflects a narrowing of political perspectives in the city, and that it is the government's responsibility to create more ideological space," Harold Meyerson writes. He adds that if investigators really looked they would find at least as much "ideologically driven or monomaniacal" editorial slant at the dailies as at alternative newsweeklies.

Continue ReadingMeyerson on the Antitrust Investigation

The Village Voice/New Times deal that closed New Times Los Angeles and VVM's Cleveland Free Times, is another sign of an "imploding economy," Cynthia Cotts writes in The Village Voice. She suggests that when VVM's venture capitalist owners start looking to cash out they could find a buyer in a daily newspaper chain or another alternative media company.

Continue ReadingMedia Consolidation, Alternative-Style

Iconoclastic alternative weeklies are doing business like the big boys, former Washington City Paper Editor David Carr writes in the New York Times. Carr reports that New Times received $8 million from Village Voice Media to close its money-losing New Times Los Angeles. "The willingness of the two ferociously competitive chains to make a deal in their common interest could mean that the next big deal by the companies could leave only one standing," Carr writes.

Continue ReadingNew Times/Village Voice Deal: Cutting Losses

Village Voice Media paid NT Media more than $1 million to close New Times Los Angeles, sources tell the Los Angeles Times. New Times paid VVM a lesser amount to shutter Cleveland Free Times, the daily reports. An anti-trust lawyer says the transaction, negotiated quietly over the past three months, "could raise rather interesting antitrust issues."

Continue ReadingNew Times, VVM Cut Deal, Close Papers

By a two-vote margin, LA Weekly's advertising and promotional staff voted not to join the union that represents editorial employees, the Los Angeles Times reports. The close vote and hard-fought campaign have opened wounds Publisher Beth Sestanovich says she wants to heal.

Continue ReadingLA Weekly Ad Staff Rejects Union

Advertising staff at LA Weekly are to vote Friday on whether to join the union that already represents editorial employees at the alt-weekly. Editorial staff are shocked that management is resisting extending union representation to ad staff because the paper has always had an ardently pro-union editorial stance, reports the Los Angeles Times. Publisher Beth Sestanovich, however, tells the Times she pushed for a vote rather than the more pro-forma card check organizing because "while our editorial policy is pro-union, it also is pro-democracy."

Continue ReadingLA Weekly Ad Staff Consider Unionizing