Laurie Carlson says the Weekly has always had a different business model than most dailies, obviously, but also from alt-weeklies on the mainland. "A lot of weeklies were built on private party advertising, which we never had," she says, referring to the person-to-person classified ads that have dried up in recent years. She says the Weekly has been doing better than the local dailies, but has still had to cut staff this year and is running thinner papers. But, she adds, things seem to be looking level, if not up. "Other than January, when we took a terrible, terrible hit, this year seems to be normalizing," Carlson says.
The Weekly announced yesterday that it is actively seeking a replacement for Laurie Ochoa, who has been the paper's editor in chief since 2001.
The Weekly has assembled a special issue commemorating different periods and significant events in the paper's history. "It's safe to say that no other issue of the L.A. Weekly has ever included the writing of all four of its editors in chief," writes current editor Laurie Ochoa in her package intro. "I'm thrilled that Jay Levin, Kit Rachlis and Sue Horton agreed to be a part of this project, and as I read their three very different pieces I realize that there is one thing we all share as editors -- an audacious sense of ambition."
"I think our primary problem was simply finding solid sales reps," Laurie Carlson tells the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The Journal, which was accepted as a member of AAN last weekend, will print its last issue this weekend. Carlson also says it "wasn't a helpful thing" for the Journal that the Stephens Media Group, owner of the island's two daily papers, started its own alternative paper about a year ago. "They have much deeper pockets and they can run something that was heavily subsidized and we can't," she says. "It's a very sad thing."
The Journal, which was voted into AAN on Saturday in Philadelphia, will close after its next edition is printed this weekend, according to the Honolulu Advertiser. The paper, which was founded in 1999, was owned by Pacific Catalyst Publishing LLC, which also owns AAN member Honolulu Weekly. "The Journal faced a direct challenge for more than a year from the new Big Island Weekly published by Stephens Media Group," the Advertiser reports. Editor Peter Serafin tells the Pacific Business News that publisher Laurie Carlson told him Monday about the paper's closure but gave no reason for the shutdown. "It came as a complete surprise," he says.
LA Observed broke the news this week that Jill Stewart had been hired as the news editor at LA Weekly and surmised, "With Stewart around you have to wonder about [LA Weekly Editor Laurie] Ochoa's authority (and how much of her survival under New Times is connected to her marriage to award-winning Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold.)" Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey answers: "Frankly, this is the sort of conspiratorial brilliance I’d expect from someone pushing a shopping cart loaded with all their worldly possessions … Ochoa is my editor." Lacey also praises David Zahniser's investigation of the death of labor leader Miguel Contreras, and savages columnist Harold Meyerson, who resigned from the paper earlier this week after unloading a few parting shots of his own.
As Editor in Chief of L.A. Weekly, Laurie Ochoa tries to find innovative approaches to special issues, so that "you don't feel like you're reading the same copy over and over again." Viewing the "Best of L.A." through a theme of the seven deadly sins won Ochoa and her staff a first-place AtlWeekly Award for Special Section. This is the 38th and final in a "How I Got That Story" series highlighting the AltWeekly Awards' first-place winners.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Scott Martelle describes the fears and hopes for L.A. Weekly's role in the New Times-controlled Village Voice Media. He details the turbulent recent history of alt-weeklies in Los Angeles and speaks to several notable Angelenos. Local pol Jackie Goldberg, "a frequent target of New Times LA columnists" during New Times' previous residency in the city, says: "They were not just a gadfly, they were an assault vehicle." Martelle also speaks to a few current L.A. Weekly staff members, including editor Laurie Ochoa, and addresses speculation that Phoenix New Times editor Rick Barrs will replace her. (Barrs says that he hasn't been asked, but adds that he would "have mixed emotions about it.")
Los Angeles Magazine reporter R.J. Smith says the city's dominant alternative "has improved" since "smart and low-key" Laurie Ochoa took over as editor a year ago. Smith calls the paper Ochoa inherited "lucrative but dull, a cash cow in need of a prod" and says Village Voice Media CEO David Schneiderman -- who argues that "anxiety is healthy" -- is doing the prodding. "The pressure I'm putting on them is not because of investors," Schneiderman says. "It's so we don't become dinosaurs."