Dean Robbins, who has worked at the Madison, Wisc., alt-weekly on and off (mostly on) since 1983, will take over as editor on Jan. 5. "Isthmus has been without an editor in chief since former editor Marc Eisen stepped down from that role in October 2007," writes publisher Vince O'Hern. "Since that time the paper has been guided by an editorial board, which was formed when Eisen relinquished editorial management to concentrate on writing." Robbins, who recently took a six-month leave from the paper to help it through tough economic times, will be the fourth editor in the paper's nearly 33-year history.

Continue ReadingIsthmus Names New Editor

The Santa Barbara Independent's Robby Robbins, who is AAN's Classified Advertising Chair, was married on July 2 to longtime partner Bryan O'Quinn as part of the Express' Wedding Wednesdays promotion. The paper chose six couples to be married to celebrate same-sex couples' newfound right to legally marry in California. In attendance at the July 2 ceremony were a number of Independent staffers who drove up from Santa Barbara, as well as Gloria Mock, advertising director of North Carolina's Independent Weekly, where Robbins previously worked. "Bryan and I are so grateful to the East Bay Express, [publisher] Jody Colley, and all their partners/vendors for making this wonderful time more spectacular than we could ever have imagined," Robbins tells AAN News via email. For more photos click here, and for a video montage of all six weddings, click here.

Continue ReadingAAN Board Member Gets Married by East Bay Express

The Madison, Wis., alt-weekly is "looking at ways to reduce expenses like everybody has to," publisher Vince O'Hern tells the Capital Times. "Nothing is decided. It may involve some people taking leaves, and some people not being on staff anymore." News editor Bill Lueders says A&E editor Dean Robbins will take an unpaid six-month leave to tend to "personal projects and other work." Other than that, he says talk of any staff changes is premature. Isthmus employs 10 editorial staffers, and the total staff size is about three dozen, according to Lueders.

Continue ReadingFaced With ‘Pretty Flat’ Ad Revenue, Isthmus Considers Possible Layoffs

The unionized Voice employees averted a strike early this morning, forging an agreement with Village Voice Media for a new three-year contract, the New York Press reports. "We got a deal. 3 o'clock this morning," Voice staff writer and shop steward Tom Robbins tells the Press. "We won a good victory for unions." Under the new contract, which was unanimously ratified this morning, union members will not be expected to pay any portion of the premium of their health care, and Robbins says the new contract calls for a raise.

Continue ReadingVillage Voice Employees Sign Contract, Avoid Walkout

The two sides are trying to reach an agreement on a new contract before June 30, when the unionized Voice employees' current contract will expire, the New York Post reports. "The battle lines have already been drawn, and, not surprisingly, health care is a major focal point," says the Post. Staff writer and shop steward Tom Robbins says that the unionized employees are being asked to join a contributory health plan for the first time. He estimates the plan could cost each employee up to $5,500 per year, and notes that the union has put forth a wage increase proposal, but he isn't sure that will work. "There is no way they are going to give us a pay increase to match that [health care cost increase]," Robbins says. There has been talk that a strike is possible if the contract isn't in place by the end of June, but editor Tony Ortega is hopeful a deal can be reached. "I've been told these things always go to midnight on June 30," he tells the Post. "We value their work and hope to make an amicable settlement."

Continue ReadingVillage Voice Staff and Management Meet Today for Contract Talks

Veteran Voice staff writer Tom Robbins tells the New York Press that the paper's employees may strike if a contract dispute isn't resolved. Talks center on proposed cuts in health care coverage in the latest contract offer from Village Voice Media, which the union considers unacceptable. "Management is asking for givebacks on our health care policy and on our 401(k)," says Robbins, who serves as a shop steward with United Auto Workers Local 2110, which represents Voice staffers. "We are adamant that there won't be any givebacks here." He says the union has had two meetings with management, but vowed that there would be a walkout if no settlement is reached. "If we don't get it, all bets are off," Robbins warns. The Press says a call to a Voice spokesperson for comment has thus far gone unreturned. The strike is set for July 1 if a contract agreement isn't reached, according to Gawker.

Continue ReadingPossible Strike Looms at The Village Voice