In the annual awards given out to "The Best in the West" by the Western Publishing Association, L.A. Weekly won in the overall Tabloids (Consumer) category and in the Best News Story (Consumer) category, while the San Francisco Bay Guardian took first for Best Signed Editorial or Essay (Consumer).
Mike Menza, who had been at the L.A. Weekly for more than 19 years, died on Tuesday after battling cancer. "Menza led a tireless staff in one of publishing's crucial but little-known fields, one requiring physical stamina, intimate demographic intelligence and a head for quick calculation," the Weekly's Steven Mikulan writes. "Mike was our secret weapon," Weekly editor-in-chief Laurie Ochoa says. "One of the big reasons we're still alive and kicking, even [in] this economy, is Mike's genius at knowing exactly where we need to be on the streets -- and how to keep readers hungry for the paper."
Earlier this week, we noted that a piece in the Fort Worth Weekly had won a 2008 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award in the local-circulation weeklies category, but we neglected to mention that four other alt-weekly stories were IRE finalists. In the local-circulation weeklies category, Phoenix New Times' John Dickerson had two stories place, while the Houston Press' Chris Vogel had one. In addition, L.A. Weekly's Christine Pelisek was the runner-up for the Tom Renner Award, which is specifically for crime reporting.
Finke reports that her "Deadline Hollywood Daily" blog, which is hosted by L.A. Weekly and celebrates its 3rd anniversary this month, was eyed by the CEO of Variety parent company Reed Business Information, but the deal didn't go anywhere.
AAN members are once again well-represented in the list of nominees for this year's James Beard Foundation Awards for Journalism. The finalists: L.A. Weekly's Pulitzer-prize winning critic Jonathan Gold in the Restaurant Reviews; Kristen Hinman of Riverfront Times in Newspaper Feature Writing Without Recipes; and the Chicago Reader's Mike Sula in Multimedia Food Journalism. Winners will be announced at a May 4 gala in New York.
The Simpsons creator and longtime alt-weekly cartoonist tells CNN that, after 22 years, "Life in Hell" is being dropped by its flagship paper. The cut is part of Village Voice Media's suspension of all syndicated cartoons. Groening hints he's thinking of discontinuing the cartoon. "I'm still in a bunch of other papers, so I may continue to do my strip," he says, "but it doesn't look good."
In this week's Village Voice, the recently laid off Nat Hentoff bids farewell with a column that touches on his time at the paper and his journalistic influences. "I came here in 1958 because I wanted a place where I could writer freely on anything I cared about," he writes. "There was no pay at first, but the Voice turned out to be a hell of a resounding forum." On the other coast, LA Weekly veteran Marc Cooper, who was let go a few months ago, has posted what he's calling an "autopsy" of the Weekly on his website. Cooper, who first joined the paper in 1982, pulls no punches in his nearly-6,000-word piece, but the gist can be found in one of the closing paragraphs. "If there was ever a time for an aggressive, irreverent, credible metro weekly to take on the [Los Angeles Times], it's right now, right here," he writes. "That requires investment, not layoffs."
As part of company-wide cuts at Creative Loafing, Washington City Paper and Creative Loafing (Charlotte) have each reportedly laid off two employees. In addition, Mediabistro is reporting on an unspecified number of layoffs at L.A. Weekly, and the Valley Advocate says that last week associate publisher Do-Han Allen and circulation manager Jeffrey Owczarski became "the latest casualties of a series of year-end layoffs by our parent company." A few days after his paper laid off seven, Creative Loafing (Tampa) editor David Warner dedicates his editor's note to a list of "the Top 10 Reasons Layoffs Suck."