Robert Kasner, senior vice president and circulation director for Village Voice Media, died of liver cancer last week at the age of 53. Since 1998, Kasner oversaw the process of getting a quarter-million copies of the The Village Voice off the press and delivered to 1,700 locations. He also led the paper's battle against city rules that imposed tight restrictions on the free-newspaper industry. In an obituary in this week's Voice, publisher Judy Miszner says that Kasner "had an amazing intellect and kindness about him."

Continue ReadingVoice Senior VP and Circulation Director Succumbs to Cancer

Grant Daniel Pick, 57, died Feb. 1 of a heart attack. Editor Alison True tells the Chicago Tribune: "There was a generosity of spirit that was typical of him no matter what he was writing about." Pick "produced stories on topics ranging from religion to transgender individuals," and won a Peter Lisagor Award for exemplary journalism from the Chicago Headline Club, the Tribune reports. A story he wrote about Uday Hussein's hypnotist is set to run in Friday's edition of the Reader.

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Staff Writer Dies

Newsday reports that Newfield -- who worked at the Village Voice from 1964 to 1988, first as a columnist and reporter, and later as senior editor -- died Monday night at the age of 66. After leaving the Voice, he went on to write for the New York Daily News and the New York Post, and was most recently a columnist at the New York Sun. He also authored 10 books, including biographies of Robert Kennedy and Rudy Giuliani. Wayne Barrett, Newfield's colleague at the Voice, tells Newsday: "I think [Newfield] invented a whole new form of personal investigative journalism that was rooted in a consuming ethic and a brilliant search for truth."

Continue ReadingFormer Voice Writer Jack Newfield Dies of Cancer

Investigate reporter Gary Webb is remembered at Sacramento News & Review, where he had been on staff since August 2004. In a special feature, the paper compiles links to his articles, remembrances by friends and colleagues and retrospections upon his body of work. Webb is best known for his "Dark Alliances" series for the San Jose Mercury News and the subsequent (many contend unjust) virulent backlash against it in the mainstream press. A piece by Bill Forman and Melinda Welsh concludes with a transcript of a talk Webb gave in 1999, in which he tells his audience, "It's really kind of scary when you think about how capricious life is sometimes."

Continue ReadingGary Webb Remembered at Sacramento News & Review

Gary Webb, an award-winning investigative journalist and Sacramento News & Review political reporter, was found dead in his home on Friday morning of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head, reports the Sacramento Bee. Webb is best known for his work at the San Jose Mercury News, specifically a controversial series of articles called "Dark Alliances," which reported connections between crack dealers in South Central Los Angeles, the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the Central Intelligence Agency. The News & Review hired Webb in August 2004 to cover politics and state government. He is survived by three children.

Continue ReadingSacramento News & Review Political Reporter Found Dead

Peter Cox, co-founder of the statewide alternative weekly, died last week from esophageal cancer, the Portland Press Herald reports. Cox had written that he and co-founder John Cole started Maine Times in 1968 because, "We wanted to cover issues rather than events and we believed in the community of Maine.” According to the Press Herald, "In its early years especially, the alternative weekly wrote about issues the traditional press had long neglected." Cox sold the paper in 1985, but later returned for a short stint as editor and also served as a columnist for several years. His memoir, Journalism Matters, will be published in December.

Continue ReadingMaine Times Co-Founder Dies

Simon Peter Kinsella, an intern at the East Bay Express, passed away in his sleep at a friend's house last week. He was 29, and recently earned a master's degree from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. The Express reports he hoped to parlay his internship to land a reporting job at either the Cincinnati Enquirer or Cleveland Plain-Dealer and later move to New York City, perhaps as a political writer.

Continue ReadingEast Bay Express Intern Dies Unexpectedly

Ron Curran (pictured), a "dogged, award- winning investigator and unblushing idealist" died this week in his Southern California home, according to his former employer, the LA Weekly. Curran, who left the Weekly after ten years to work at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, recently founded the alternative wire service, Pulp Syndicate. "Ron was one of the best writers and reporters I ever worked with," Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond tells the Weekly.

Continue ReadingVeteran Alt-Weekly Reporter Found Dead at 43