In a lengthy Post Magazine feature, City Paper alums like Russ Smith, Jack Shafer and David Carr join current leaders Erik Wemple and Ben Eason in discussing the paper's history, its legacy and its future. Even former mayor Marion Barry, who recently appeared on a City Paper cover that incited some controversy, weighs in on the alt-weekly.

Continue ReadingWashington City Paper’s ‘Key Players’ Talk About the Past & the Future

"The New York Press' early years involved a lot of tough slogging, making pitches to recalcitrant advertisers (most of whom are out of business today), attracting writers for minimal fees and continually missing the deadline for our printer in the Meatpacking District," writes founder Russ Smith. "But mostly, we had a lot of fun." He talks about the history of the paper, the future of alt-weeklies, and how his conservative political commentary often got the paper -- which also ran pieces by liberal stalwarts Alexander Cockburn and David Corn -- mislabeled as a "Republican paper." As part of the cover package, the Press also published a timeline of notable events in the paper's history.

Continue ReadingThe New York Press Celebrates 20 Years

Last week we reported that Vancouver alt-weekly Georgia Straight broke the story that British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and his wife own shares of stock in mining giant Alcan Inc., which does business with the state-owned water utility. In fact, the article also appeared in Monday Magazine, an AAN-member paper that is published in Victoria, the seat of the provincial government. Russ Francis, who wrote the story, contributes to both papers. Blame Canada? No, blame, the Web site of the National Post, which is where we found the partially erroneous story.

Continue ReadingCorrection: Georgia Straight and Monday Magazine Report Conflict

The New Democratic Party launched an attack on the head of the British Columbia's provincial government last week, based on information it learned in an article published in the venerable Vancouver alt-weekly, reports the National Post. In the article, the Straight's Russ Francis reported that Premier Gordon Campbell (pictured) and his wife own shares of stock in mining giant Alcan Inc., which does business with the state-owned water utility.

Continue ReadingGeorgia Straight Story Leads to Conflict of Interest Charges

In a recent interview with John Dicker that appears in the September issue of The Toilet Paper (a monthly "Monster-Truck/Gay-Cowboy tabloid" based in Colorado Springs), Taibbi talks about his new gig with Rolling Stone and his recent departure from the New York Press. Taibbi offers a characteristically heated denunciation of columnist and former New York Press owner Russ Smith; says ex-editors Jeff Koyen and Alexander Zaitchik were scapegoats for the failures of the paper's management; and predicts new editor Harry Siegel ("a Smith protege") will turn the paper "into a dumb neocon rag."

Continue ReadingMatt Taibbi on Russ Smith, New York Press

Russ Smith, founder of Baltimore City Paper and co-founder of New York Press, talks to Gawker about the state of alternative papers. He thinks the industry is dealing with "the brain drain of talented youngsters who, 20 years ago, would be fresh blood but are now involved with Internet projects." Smith then tells writers Andrew Krucoff and Chris Gage that editors hoping to sustain alt-weekly success need to "focus on the quality of writing, rather than knee-jerk politics and Quentin Tarantino hagiography."

Continue ReadingNew York Press Co-Founder Says Weeklies “At a Crossroads”

Haunted by what he witnessed from the roof of his building near the World Trade Center on 9/11, Russ Smith sold his upstart weekly, New York Press, and moved his family to Baltimore. He has disparaged the city where he once edited Baltimore City Paper as "Tinytown," but old friends say he has a strange way of showing his affection. Former City Paper staff writer Michael Anft offers an in-depth look at the man who now writes a conservative column for the Baltimore weekly he once owned. Smith has said that "if you wanted to find a list of his enemies, all you had to do was pick up the Baltimore white pages," Anft says.

Continue ReadingFormer New York Press Owner Discusses His Return to “Tinytown”

The alt-weekly contrarian launches a new weekly column this week in City Paper under the header "Right Field." Smith will also continue writing his "Mugger" column for New York Press, which he sold late last year. But he and his family left Manhattan to return to Charm City, where he co-founded the City Paper (it was originally called City Squeeze) in 1977 and sold it a decade later.

Continue ReadingRuss Smith Returns to Baltimore

Johns Hopkins Magazine says Smith led a university newspaper staff "fueled by coffee, beer, and drugs." Several former fellow underclassmen express shock that the devotee of Hunter Thompson has morphed into an acerbic conservative columnist. The alumni magazine calls the The New York Press, which Smith founded in 1988, "a gadfly: loud, vulgar, self-indulgent, disrespectful, and bracing." Smith's "Mugger" column "can veer from political diatribe to vitriolic media critique to accounts of Smith's domestic life, all in one week," Dale Keiger writes. Smith recently sold the paper and has plans to move from New York City to Baltimore.

Continue ReadingRuss Smith’s College Days

Russ Smith tells Baltimore City Paper, which he co-founded in 1988, that he plans to return to the city and write full-time. Smith recently sold New York Press and tells City Paper he's tired of the "high-octane" Big Apple, where his TriBeCa apartment was uninhabitable for weeks after Sept. 11. "I'd like my boys to have a real backyard and house, Melissa [his wife] to have a garden, all that stuff. Also, I'm 47 now, and it's not like I go out to clubs at midnight anymore," Smith says.

Continue ReadingMugger Returning to Baltimore