TDN was launched last year by the local Gannett daily, The Greenville News, and now controls about 400 retail locations in the area. Many of those retailers had previously distributed now-defunct AAN member MetroBeat for free, but when TDN took over, MetroBeat was forced out, making way for Gannett's faux-alt Link, and several other free publications. Alt-weeklies across the country are increasingly facing similar exclusive rack programs operated by large companies like Trader and DistribuTech. Marty Levine reports on how some AAN papers are working around -- or making the most of -- the arrangement.

Continue ReadingGannett Creates Free-Paper Distribution Company in Greenville

Editor James Shannon announced yesterday that 20,000-circulation MetroBeat has ceased publication. The paper was known as Creative Loafing-Greenville until its sale by that chain to its founder, Debby Eason, in August, 2001. Of the 14 papers that applied for AAN membership in 2002, MetroBeat was the only one that was accepted. A letter from Shannon announcing that he will continue the publication as an online magazine is posted at .

Continue ReadingGreenville, SC’s MetroBeat Shuttered
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John Edwards may have won South Carolina but the Rev. Al Sharpton captured the attention of a crowd in Greensville, S.C., by specifically addressing the issues that worry people. "We are tired of imitation Republicans leading this party," he tells MetroBEAT news editor James Shannon. Edwards and front-runner John Kerry both seemed to be playing defense, Shannon writes.

Continue ReadingSouth Carolina Audience Comes Alive When Al Sharpton Takes the Stage

Daily papers have treated alternative newsweeklies with contempt, but it seems "that even that small share of local advertising revenue that is often a weekly paper's sole means of support is now coveted by the big boys," writes News Editor James Shannon in a MetroBEAT cover story. In February, Gannett's Greenville News will launch a youth-oriented weekly, The Link, to compete with the Greenville, S.C., alternative paper. Alt-weekly publishers in other cities tell Shannon how they dealt with the Gannett challenge. Boise Weekly Editor-in-Chief Bingo Barnes says he "spent the first month driving around and moving our racks and newsstands back into prime locations."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Position Their News Racks to Defend against Gannett

Ben Eason, president of Creative Loafing Inc., has sold Creative Loafing of Greenville, S.C. , a non-AAN alt pub, to his mother, Debby Eason, founder of the chain; Lori Coon, publisher of the Greenville paper; and Kyle Sims, publisher of the Savannah, Ga., edition of Creative Loafing. Ben Eason says his mother now owns 51 percent of the Greenville paper and that he wants to concentrate on bigger markets. Also, former Loafing writer Greg Land joins Time magazine as an Atlanta correspondent.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing Sells Greenville, S.C., Paper