In the North Carolina Press Association's annual contest, the Independent Weekly won a total of nine awards and Mountain Xpress took home three. The Indy finished first in three categories: criticism (which it swept), investigative reporting and news coverage. The Xpress finished first in the Special Section category. In addition, the Indy collected five awards, including one first-place win, in the the North Carolina Press Photographers Association's annual contest.
In the old days, when the media reported on problems in the newspaper industry, alternative newspapers weren't included. But alt-weeklies are immune no longer: In 2008, many AAN papers faced some of the same issues afflicting their mainstream brethren in the print media. However, you can still find alt-weeklies that had a pretty good year in 2008. That's just what AAN's editor Jon Whiten did, and he reports on 10 papers that increased revenue in a story published by Editor & Publisher.
C.B. "Chick" Squire, who had been working with the weekly since the mid-1990s, died on Jan. 4 of natural causes. He was 88 years old. "Chick was the last of the old guard who stood by and believed in this publication," writes XPress publisher Jeff Fobes, "all the way from its inception as Green Line many years ago to the current weekly print and online avatars of Mountain Xpress." More from the News & Observer.
Employees of the Asheville, N.C., alt-weekly will see an across-the-board cut in pay of between 5 and 10 percent effective Jan. 1, owner and publisher Jeff Fobes announced Friday. The paper has suffered a recent decline in classified and retail advertising, and Fobes expects the slide to continue in 2009. "Our strategy is to share the pain, so we're instituting a company-wide pay cut," he says. "Everyone feels the pain; everyone should have input into what must be an evolving response to the economy." ALSO FROM THE XPRESS: The paper recently discussed its web operations in a feature story on how local publications are dealing with online journalism.
In the non-daily print division, both the Memphis Flyer and Miami New Times won four first-place awards in the annual contest which "recognizes outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states." The Flyer placed first in disaster coverage, editorial writing, feature reporting, and political reporting. It also tacked on two third-place finishes. Miami New Times finished first in consumer reporting, courts and law reporting, criticism (a category swept by alt-weeklies), and non-deadline news. New Times added one third-place finish as well. In addition, New Times Broward-Palm Beach took home two awards, including a first-place win for sports reporting; while both Mountain XPress and North Carolina's Independent Weekly went home with a second-place award. Winners were announced Saturday in Atlanta.
Facing increased scrutiny and concern over problems associated with freestanding news boxes, Mountain XPress distribution manager Sammy Cox (pictured) and publisher Jeff Fobes organized local publishers to form the Community Publishers Group (CPG). Members of the CPG now share the cost of purchasing and installing new multi-publication distribution units, which are installed in 36 locations throughout Asheville, N.C. According to Cox and Fobes, the new boxes conserve space and reduce clutter, and have pre-empted potentially harmful measures like news rack legislation. They spoke with AAN News recently by phone and email about the benefits these boxes and the CPG have had for Mountain XPress and the local publishing community.
In the non-daily print division, AAN members comprise 16 of the 30 finalists in the Society of Professional Journalists' Green Eyeshade Awards, which "recognizes outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states." The Memphis Flyer and Miami New Times each has six finalists, New Times Broward-Palm Beach has two, and the Independent Weekly and Mountain XPress each has one.
The Independent Weekly's Derek Anderson was named Photographer of the Year by the NCPA, and the Weekly took home four first-place awards, for Investigative Reporting, Feature Photography, Photo Page, and News Coverage. The paper also placed second in two categories and third in one. Creative Loafing (Charlotte) finished first in two categories: News Feature Writing and Lighter Columns. Mountain XPress also took a second-place award for Investigative Reporting, and a third-place "general excellence" award for its website.
Cecil Bothwell, who was fired from the XPress last month, is now a business partner in and news editor of Asheville City Paper. The paper, which is being started by the independent weekly Columbia City Paper, will be monthly at first and hopes to go bi-weekly by Spring. A press release posted at Bothwell's blog says the City Paper, "targeting an 18-45 liberal demographic, will feature hard-hitting investigative journalism and will cover national politics, local news and music." Managing editor Todd Morehead tells the Ashvegas blog: "We're all super excited and Cecil already has a gutsy investigative piece in the works that he says Mountain Xpress was 'too timid' to publish."