Nick Schou has followed up his 2006 book on Gary Webb with Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, which was released yesterday. The book examines the Brotherhood, dubbed the "Hippie Mafia," which grew from a small group of surfers to the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation. Schou tells his Weekly colleague Matt Coker that he had to go to some extraordinary lengths to track down Brotherhood members for the book. "I had to hike a mile up a really remote slope in Maui to talk to a Buddhist hermit who was able get me an interview with Ram Dass, [Timothy] Leary's Harvard philosophy colleague and acid researcher," He says. "Another time, I had to play guitar with a Brotherhood smuggler who has a cable access television show in Santa Cruz."

Continue ReadingOC Weekly Staff Writer Releases Second Book

Editor Kevin Hoffman and art director Nick Vlcek talk to the Society of Publication Designers about this week's cover design, which uses Sarah Palin's Going Rogue as source material for a cover story (titled "Going Crazy") on Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. As we noted yesterday, Hoffman had said it was the first time in 30 years the paper had gone out without a logo on the cover; a decision that he and Vlcek say was a pretty easy one to come by. "We realized very quickly that in order to make the cover look as much like the book as possible, that we would have to forgo our logo," Hoffman says. "But it was worth it for the impact it would have on our readers."

At left, City Pages' 11/18 cover; at right, Sarah Palin's book cover.

Continue ReadingMore on City Pages’ Bachmann/Palin Mash-Up Cover

The Minnesota alt-weekly has a big story this week on Michele Bachmann, the conservative Congresswoman who "has distinguished herself by saying crazy things in a very sweet voice tinged with folksy charm ... not unlike Sarah Palin," editor Kevin Hoffman writes. "The coincidence of Palin's book release this week couldn't be ignored, so art director Nick Vlcek decided to do a mash-up. It's the first time in 30 years that we're shipping a City Pages without our logo on the front, but we think it's worth it."

At left, City Pages' 11/18 cover; at right, Sarah Palin's book cover.

Continue ReadingCity Pages Mashes Up Palin Book for This Week’s Cover

In the fourteenth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, the Santa Barbara Independent's Nick Welsh discusses his award-winning media coverage of the local daily. In the midst of reporting on turmoil at the Santa Barbara News-Press, Welsh eventually became part of the story himself, as he was sued by the paper for copyright infringement. He tells Tess Martinez how he became the go-to guy for News-Press news, the chilling effect of being sued by another paper, and how the Independent has stepped in as the News-Press has essentially committed suicide. "Santa Barbara is a community trying to figure out how to live without a daily paper," Welsh says. "At the Independent, we're trying to figure out a way to become a de facto daily with the internet. We're doing OK, but we're still struggling."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Nick Welsh

Kill the Messenger will tell the story of Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who "committed suicide after being the target of a smear campaign when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California," Variety reports. The Universal film will be based on two books: Webb's own Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, and Weekly staff writer Nick Schou's Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb. The screenplay is being written by former New York Times Magazine correspondent Peter Landesman.

Continue ReadingOC Weekly Scribe’s Book is the Basis for Upcoming Gary Webb Film

On the heels of last week's story on a Vietnamese-language newspaper that has been become the target of an "anti-communist witch-hunt," staff writer Nick Schou's mug appeared "in a none-too-flattering cartoon" on, OC Weekly reports. "It's unclear just yet in what way Nick is supposed to be controlling Viet Weekly publisher Le Vu -- our translation of the accompanying Vietnamese text is still pending -- and I must say, that really doesn't look like Nick at all," writes editor Ted Kissell. "Except for the fountain pen for a hand. Totally accurate. I've been meaning to get one of those for myself."

Continue ReadingOC Weekly Writer Caricatured in Vietnamese-language Press

OC Weekly editor Nick Schou's book about the dire last days of journalist Gary Webb is out at last, and many AAN members are excerpting it. Schou first met Webb at the peak of the controversy over "Dark Alliance," his 1996 San Jose Mercury Press series on collusion between the CIA and cocaine-trafficking Nicaraguan contras. Scourged by the mainstream media, a broke and unconsolable Webb sank into depression and committed suicide in December 2004. "Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb" grew out of an OC Weekly article Schou wrote following his death. In "In These Times," former Village Voice columnist Doug Ireland calls Schou's book a "a meticulous, balanced account" of the affair and "a cautionary tale for anyone considering a career in investigative journalism."

Continue ReadingHot Off the Press: The Tragedy of Gary Webb