In a message to all Village Voice Media employees sent out today, VVM CEO Jim Larkin and executive editor Michael Lacey say the ramifications of last week's court order that suggested the San Francisco Bay Guardian could seize assets from papers other than SF Weekly has been widely misunderstood. "[The order] simply says the Guardian can try and go after cash distributions New Times receives from its publications as a limited partner or member of the company," they say, pointing out that "the amount of those monies is zero," since the company's publications are "separately organized limited liability companies or limited partnerships that own, operate and publish in their respective communities." They say that as they continue their appeal of the original judgment, "our publications will continue to publish and conduct business as they have all along."
"Creative Loafing's bankruptcy is just one more media story to follow, along with the Sun-Times Media Group's bankruptcy and the Tribune Company's bankruptcy," Michael Miner writes. "But CL's is the story I'm part of." He explores the difficulties of "reporting on your own house" as a media writer, and explains why he kept news of Reader layoffs off his blog for four days -- and didn't name any of the departing staffers -- just days after he had broken news of layoffs -- with names -- at Chicago Public Radio. "I have no explanation that will satisfactorily answer this question," he writes. "The fancy one I'll retreat to is one word long: epistemology. You see, it's not simply what journalists know that matters to us but also how we happen to know it. I knew what happened at WBEZ because I got a tip and worked the story; I knew about the Reader because it's home."
Lynn Cullen is re-launching her talk show "Lynn Cullen Live" on City Paper's website. The show will stream live each weekday at 10 am and also be archived and downloadable from the site. Cullen left WAMO-AM this spring when the pending sale of WAMO and its sister stations was announced. "When we read about WAMO exiting their format, we thought it might be an interesting concept to have Lynn be a part of our website," City Paper publisher Michael Frischling says.
At the annual meeting of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies on Saturday, June 27, Willamette Week's Mark Zusman was elected the association's new president. He succeeds Metroland's Stephen Leon, who will take the advisory role of Immediate Past President. The membership voted on nine other board seats on Saturday, including two that were created just minutes earlier when AAN's bylaws were amended.
That's the question Ryerson Journalism Review's Daniel Kaszor set out to investigate in that magazine's Spring issue. He sits down with independent owners Ron Garth of Vue Weekly, Michael Hollett of NOW Magazine and Dan McLeod of the Georgia Straight, as well as an editor with Eye Weekly, a corporate-owned weekly that competes with NOW in Toronto. His conclusion? "Readers may find it difficult to spot major differences between the two breeds of paper ... [b]ut there are distinctions," Kaszor writes. "Corporate papers are usually more personality-driven and apolitical. And the indies are not so much labors of love as pure acts of will held together by shrewd owners with deep personal and financial interests in their papers."
While last year's verdict in favor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian in its predatory pricing lawsuit against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media is being appealed, the Guardian claims VVM is ducking its debts and hiding its assets in an effort not to pay the $15.6 million it owes in damages. VVM executive editor Michael Lacey says that's not correct. "The case is on appeal. You are not entitled to a penny," he writes in a blog post.
The State Bar has dismissed the final two complaints pending against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, including one about his handling of the 2007 investigation of Phoenix New Times that ended with the arrests of Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin. "No one in their right mind has ever looked to the Arizona Bar as a beacon of courage, and it has certainly upheld its longstanding reputation with this dismissal today," Larkin says.
St. Petersburg Times journalist John Fleming claims that CL theater critic Mark E. Leib faces a conflict of interest working as both a critic and a playwright in the Tampa Bay area, and that objectively reviewing plays at a theater that also happens to be staging one of Leib's works should be frowned upon. "I've been theater critic for Creative Loafing for more than ten years, and this is the first time that anyone has suggested that my opinions have been influenced by any sort of favoritism for any sort of reason," Leib writes. "I don't like it and I'm not going to sit back quietly while it happens." MORE: Village Voice critic Michael Feingold, who is also a playwright, offers his take.
As the Creative Loafing bankruptcy case winds its way through the courts, Michael Miner reports that the Reader laid off more staffers last week. "Six more layoffs last Thursday reduced this paper's editorial staff to 17," Miner writes. "It was 38 when the old owners sold [Ben] Eason the paper." Creative Loafing (Tampa) also announced a handful of layoffs last week. MORE ON CL: Former Creative Loafing (Atlanta) editor Cliff Bostock offers his take on the problems at the Loaf.
Swanger's last day at the editorial helm of the Des Moines, Iowa, alt-weekly was Friday. He says he will remain as Cityview's freelance entertainment editor. Publisher Shane Goodman tells AAN News that for now he'll pull double-duty and edit the paper.