Philadelphia Weekly and Seattle Weekly both finished first in two categories in this year's National Association of Black Journalists' Salute to Excellence National Media Awards. PW's Kia Gregory took first-place honors in Newspaper--Feature (Single Story) and Newspaper--Commentary, while Seattle Weekly's Mike Seely finished first in Newspaper--Sports and Brian Miller finished first in Newspaper-Business. Winners were announced Saturday in Chicago. This marks Seely's fourth award from the NABJ in the past five years, according to the Weekly.

Continue ReadingTwo AAN Members Win Four NABJ Awards

A total of 400 people descended on the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown two weeks ago for the 2008 AAN Convention. The three-day event featured the usual mix of presentations and panels, food and booze, and business talk and gossip between alt-weekly staffers and industry types from across North America. AAN committees and staff mostly took care of the first item, while host paper Philadelphia City Paper had the second one covered, and attendees proved themselves more than capable of handling the third on their own.

Continue ReadingWrapping Up the 31st Annual AAN Convention

Saying that the Philadelphia Inquirer reporter tasked with turning in a "breezy" report about last weekend's AAN Convention "must have drawn the short straw," Bruce Schimmel writes that "it must have been challenging for [Suzette] Parmley to do something chipper about industry upstarts who are eating her lunch." But she rose to that challenge, filing what Schimmel calls a "flattering portrait" of alt-weeklies. He goes on to draw distinctions between the cultures of dailies and alt-weeklies, ultimately concluding that "the daily is dying." He adds: "And while that might mean a temporary measure of good fortune for weeklies, even the most eccentric of independents dread the daily's demise. A functional democracy needs the good reporting that comes with these dinosaurs."

Continue ReadingCity Paper Founder on the Inquirer’s Convention Report

The daily paper stopped by this weekend's AAN Convention, and found "a shared belief that alternative weeklies will do just fine in the age of cyberspace and newsroom downsizing." Baltimore City Paper managing editor Erin Sullivan says that as the economy tanks, the paper is reallocating resources, concentrating "on investigative reporting and increasing our criticism. ... Things that the dailies can't or won't do with the same level of depth." Philadelphia City Paper founder Bruce Schimmel tells the Inquirer that competition from blogs and other media has pushed alt-weeklies to be even more aggressive. "Everyone has access to your morgue," he says, "so you better get it right."

Continue ReadingPhilly Inquirer: Mood at Convention Was ‘Resoundingly Upbeat’

The New York Times this weekend explored the movement of "mad pride," which entails people publicly speaking frankly about their experiences with mental illness. The Times noted that Philadelphia Weekly senior contributing editor Liz Spikol, who chronicles her struggles with bipolar disorder for the paper in her column and on her blog, is a leading and prominent voice in this area. Spikol says she's "so excited" to be in the article -- and so is her mom. "Imagine my mom seeing the link on Mother's Day, and keep in mind, we are a Jewish family," she writes. "We ran to WaWa to get a copy of the paper because, for some reason, I wouldn't believe it was 'real' until I saw the print edition." The Times also traces the origins of the prominent online forum and support network The Icarus Project to the alt-weekly world -- it began six years ago when "one of its founders ... wrote about his bipolar disorder in the San Francisco Bay Guardian."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Scribe’s Work on Mental Illness is Part of Growing Trend

Philadelphia City Paper today announced the details of the evening festivities at this year's AAN Convention, and, as always, there will be plenty to ingest, imbibe and experience as attendees catch up with their AAN colleagues. From the opening night "Get on Board the Love Train" reception, featuring food from some of Philly's most well-regarded restaurants, to a closing night party across the street from where the U.S. Constitution was drafted, City Paper has our party needs covered. Other events include a restaurant and pub crawl through the hip environs of an historic neighborhood known as Northern Liberties, and a Saturday afterparty for about 75 attendees at The Roots Family Picnic. More afterparties are in the works -- be sure to check the Convention website for details.

Continue ReadingPhilly 2008: Gourmet Food, Historic Surroundings and Great Music

Both the Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly took home plenty of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association's 2008 Keystone Press Awards. City Paper's Tom Namako and Doron Taussig placed first and second, respectively, in the speciality category of Distinguished Writing in a Weekly. The Weekly won the Sweepstakes award for the division in which alt-weeklies are eligible. In competition within that division, the Weekly won 11 awards, including first-place finishes in Feature Story, Headline Writing, News Feature Story, News Photo, and Online Journalistic Innovation. City Paper also nabbed 11 awards in that division, including first-place wins in Business or Consumer Story, Column, Investigative Reporting, and News Beat Reporting.

Continue ReadingAAN Members Win Handful of Pennsylvania Press Awards

The Village Voice Media executive editor's Friday night utterance of the "n-word" continues to be discussed in media circles and on the internet. Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas, who may be sued by Phoenix New Times soon, criticized Lacey's comments at a press conference on Tuesday, saying "this should be the Don Imus moment for Arizona's media," KTVK-TV reports. KTVK-TV also has the full video of the acceptance speech in which the offending comment was made. And Philadelphia City Paper publisher Paul Curci is weighing in as well, calling Lacey's comments "vicious and hateful" in an incensed letter to AAN News.

Continue ReadingFallout from Michael Lacey’s Comments Continues

City Paper and Philadelphia radio station Y-Rock On XPN have each picked eight local bands to go head-to-head in the first "Philly Rock Shootout." The voting began this week, and the band that receives the most votes from each side will face off next week. The winner of that contest will be invited to play a showcase at this year's AAN Convention, to be held June 5-7 in Philly, as well as a Y-Rock festival. In addition, if City Paper wins, it gets to run the radio station for an hour; but if the alt-weekly loses, it will turn over a full page of its music section in an issue to Y-Rock.

Continue ReadingPhilly City Paper’s Local Band Battle Will Lead to AAN Convention