Watson talks with WUNC-FM's Frank Stasio about her long tenure at the North Carolina alt-weekly and the current state of the business. "We were in existence for about 16 years before we made a profit," she says of the Indy, which was launched in 1983. Now, though, Watson says that the paper is financially healthy, all things considered. "When you can compare notes with [other alt-weeklies], we're doing pretty well," she says. She attributes the Indy's resilience in part to the local economy's relative health and also to the leanness of the organization. With only about 30 staffers, she says the paper "can kind of turn on a dime when we see we need to tighten our belt."

Continue ReadingPublisher Sioux Watson Discusses the Independent Weekly

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.

Continue ReadingN.C. Alt-Weeklies Win Handful of State Press Awards

"After a year in which we had the most employees on staff in the paper's history -- 35 -- last week the Indy laid off two people, a reporter and the promotions coordinator, as well as reduced our freelance budget by 10 percent," Lisa Sorg writes in her editor's note this week. Sorg tells local blog Bull City Rising that the laid off employees are Vernal Coleman and Marny Rhodes, and that she and a number of other managers are taking voluntary pay cuts.

Continue ReadingNorth Carolina’s Independent Weekly Announces Cutbacks, Two Layoffs

In the second installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, the Independent Weekly's Adam Sobsey talks to Rich Knight about how he got his start as a book reviewer, his playwriting career, and the differences between his work for daily newspapers and alt-weeklies. "I often have more space in the Indy than I do when I write theater reviews for The News & Observer," Sobsey says, "so there's an opportunity for me to say more about what I'm reviewing, either specifically or more broadly."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Adam Sobsey

As a result of an Independent Weekly investigation, a Durham County Superior Court Judge dismissed all charges today against Erick Daniels, who was falsely convicted of robbery in 2001, when he was 15. The May 2007 story by Mosi Secret, "Stolen Youth," which won the the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, detailed abundant evidence to to support Daniels' claims of innocence, and revealed the contradictions and problems in the case to constitute reasonable doubt. Daniels, who has served seven years in prison, is due to be released this afternoon.

Continue ReadingConvicted Teen Freed After Independent Weekly Investigation

Rall, whose cartoons and columns appear in many alt-weeklies, took over as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists on Sept. 12. "For some reason my colleagues have made me president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), the organization for professional political cartoonists. (I suspect cartoonists' predilection for hard drinking had something to do with it.)," Rall writes in his weekly column. "Kidding aside, I'm honored." V. Cullum Rogers, the cartoonist at North Carolina's Independent Weekly, remains the group's secretary-treasurer, and Mikhaela Reid, whose work appears in Metro Times and other AAN papers, was elected to the group's board of directors.

Continue ReadingTed Rall Elected President of Editorial Cartoonists Group

Moving Midway: A Southern Plantation in Transit, a documentary directed by longtime critic Godfrey Cheshire, was released last week and is garnering good reviews so far. Cheshire, a three-time AltWeekly Award winner for criticism published in North Carolina's Independent Weekly, "connects his longstanding interest in American popular culture with the lore attached to his ancestral home, a North Carolina plantation called Midway" in "a fascinating and complicated story of regional identity," writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Film Critic Steps Behind the Camera

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.

Continue ReadingAAN Members Fare Well at SPJ’s Green Eyeshade Awards