A judge has dismissed former Stanford Group Company vice president Tiffany Angelle's defamation claim against the Lafayette, La., paper. Angelle had sued the Independent over a story that reported she had given a reluctant investor a Rolex watch and a lavish trip to keep his money in Stanford, which was shut down earlier this year by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly perpetrating an $8 billion investment scam. In making his ruling, the judge noted that Independent editorial director Leslie Turk, who was also named in the suit, "reasonably relied on a confidential informant whom she believed to be telling the truth and confirmed the accuracy of the source's statement by making a second call to [the confidential source]."

Continue ReadingJudge Dismisses Defamation Suit Against The Independent Weekly

Former Stanford Group Company vice president Tiffany Angelle has sued The Independent Weekly of Lafayette, La., as well as the paper's editorial director Leslie Turk, for their coverage of the company's alleged $8 billion investment scam and its effect on the local community. Angelle is suing the paper for defamation for an April story that reported she had given a reluctant investor a Rolex watch and a lavish trip to keep his business, but the Independent is fighting the suit, saying it was filed "to obstruct the paper's coverage" of the scandal. The Independent, citing Louisiana's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law, filed a motion to strike the suit earlier this month.

Continue ReadingEx-Financial Firm VP Sues Independent Weekly for Defamation

Lafayette's The Independent Weekly won 29 awards and New Orleans' Gambit Weekly won 10 in the Louisiana Press Association's annual contest. The Independent snagged first place for Editorial Cartoon, Feature Story, Lifestyle Coverage, Multimedia Element, Web Project and six advertising awards. Gambit won firsts for Regular Column and online advertising. The two papers tied for first place in Community Service/Service to Readers.

Continue ReadingLouisiana Alt-Weeklies Grab Dozens of State Press Awards

Louisiana's Independent Weekly reports that in 2008 it had to lay off one employee and that it recently instituted "a single digit, company-wide salary cut." The Nashville Scene says it is eliminating its books section, as well as News of the Weird and the New York Times crossword. Boise Weekly's publisher says that even though the "last quarter of 2008 was very disappointing ... it might have been the best we will see for awhile." Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader says goodbye to two of its departing editorial staffers, and Nat Hentoff talks to the New York Times about his plans post-Voice.

Continue ReadingMore Papers Tighten Belts

Two AAN members placed in the overall General Excellence categories: Louisiana's Independent Weekly finished second in the Class I division and OC Weekly finished third in the Class III division. In addition, both Riverfront Times (Special Sections and Arts and Entertainment) and Westword (Consumer Affairs and Food and Nutrition) were finalists in two story-topic categories. More than 1,100 entries were submitted to the annual contest administered by the Missouri School of Journalism, which calls it "the oldest and best-known feature writing and editing competition in American newspapering."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Honored in Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards

Both Gambit Weekly and The Independent Weekly went home last month with awards from The Louisiana Press Association. The Independent won a total of 38 awards in the editorial and ad/design competitions. These included first-place finishes on the editorial side in Community Service/Service to Readers Website; Continuing Coverage of a Governmental Issue; Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event; Editorial Cartoon; Feature Story; Lifestyle Coverage; and News Coverage. On the ad/design side, the Independent won first in Ad Campaign; Black and White 1/2 Page or Under (Staff-generated); Black and White Over 1/2 Page (Staff-generated); In-Paper Promotion (Color); and Multiple Advertiser Page. Gambit Weekly took home a total of seven awards in the editorial competition, including a first-place finish in Regular Column.

Continue ReadingAAN’s Louisiana Contingent Piles Up the State Press Awards

The Lafayette, La., alt-weekly was given the Freedom of Information award by the Louisiana Press Association "for its exposure of a questionable land swap deal being proposed by the University of Louisiana in Lafayette," according to a press release (PDF file). Judges of the award called senior editor Leslie Turk's coverage "passionate and vigorous," the Weekly reports. The paper won a total of 20 first place honors in the Association's annual awards -- in categories ranging from investigative reporting to best advertising idea to best website.

Continue ReadingIndependent Weekly Wins Freedom of Information Award and More