"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

Four years after the AAN-member paper Illinois Times challenged an official police account of how a black officer responded to an incident involving rape, the case will finally go to court, reports the The State-Journal Register. Dusty Rhodes' series about the case in the Springfield, Ill. alt-weekly sparked public outrage and led a number of African-American cops to step forward in a group lawsuit against the city alleging racial discrimination. The so-called "black officers case" goes back to Halloween night, 2001, when a 35-year-old rookie cop named Renatta Frazier responded to a call at the apartment of the daughter of another police officer. Frazier was originally criticized for not doing enough to stop the assault, but the Illinois Times later showed that she was never in a position to do so.

Continue ReadingDiscrimination Case Triggered by Alt-Weekly Finally Sees Trial

A federal racial discrimination lawsuit by six officers against the Springfield Police Department casts new light on a 2002 Illinois Times report. The Springfield Journal-Register credits the alternative weekly article with debunking a departmental investigation of Renatta Frazier, an African-American officer, who later filed a discrimination suit. Before the article by Times staff writer Dusty Rhodes ran, local press had circulated SPD's official version of events for several months.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly’s Early Report Resonates in Racism Fray