Independent senior editor Matt Kettmann tells us via email that the paper has published about 50 stories since the Jesusita wildfire started on Tuesday afternoon at The paper has been doing up-to-the-minute coverage with a staff of about a dozen -- on top of putting out a print edition this week as well. Kettmann says its an example of "how weeklies can handle pretty important and heavy loads."

Continue ReadingAs Fire Blazes, Santa Barbara Independent Reports — Often

Two AAN members are finalists in this year's EPpy Awards, which "honor the best websites in the media world." Las Vegas Weekly is a finalist for best entertainment website with fewer than one million unique monthly visitors, while Baltimore City Paper is a finalist for best weekly newspaper-affiliated website, a category the Santa Barbara Independent won last year. Winners of the awards, which are sponsored by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek magazines, will be announced on May 7.

Continue ReadingTwo Alt-Weeklies Are Up for 2009 EPpy Awards

Jolene Nenibah Yazzie, who works in the alt-weekly's production department, has three digital prints on display at the National Museum of the American Indian, as part of the Comic Art Indigene exhibition. Yazzie talks to about her work, her skateboard company and how she got started as a comic artist. "I had two older brothers. They were really into skateboarding and comic books, and I think I was trying to impress them," she says. "That's pretty much how I got into it."

Continue ReadingSanta Fe Reporter Designer’s Work Featured at a Smithsonian Museum

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has until midnight to decide whether to sign a bill that would repeal the death penalty, and today the Santa Fe Reporter ran an exclusive interview with accused police killer Michael Astorga, who might face the death penalty if he's convicted. Last Friday, the Reporter teamed up with the New Mexico Independent to live-blog the state Senate as it debated the death penalty repeal.

Continue ReadingSFR Interviews Alleged Killer as State Weighs Repeal of Death Penalty

Alan Mutter says newspapers shouldn't charge for access to their websites unless they provide content that is "unique and valuable." As an example, he says the pay wall erected by the daily Santa Barbara News-Press has left the paper with less than half of the traffic generated by the much smaller Independent. When wildfires threatened Santa Barbara in November, Mutter says, "scant information" was available for non-subscribers on the daily's site, while the alt-weekly's site -- which won a 2008 EPpy Award for best weekly newspaper-affiliated website -- "brimmed with up-to-the-minute bulletins, first-person reports" and fire photos.

Continue ReadingHow the Santa Barbara Independent Beats the Local Daily Online

Against the advice of friends, family, and colleagues, The Independent's news reporter Ben Preston has embarked on a month-long embedded tour of Iraq with the U.S. Army's 425th Civil Affairs Battalion, which is based in Santa Barbara. Why? "I'm hoping to take a look at some of the economic work that is being done here," he explained. "I knew that coalition forces from all over the world were here, but seeing how many non-military people are working here, it becomes apparent that many people have become economically dependent upon the rebuilding process." Follow Preston's continually updated blog online at

Continue ReadingSanta Barbara Independent Reporter Heads to Iraq

In the old days, when the media reported on problems in the newspaper industry, alternative newspapers weren't included. But alt-weeklies are immune no longer: In 2008, many AAN papers faced some of the same issues afflicting their mainstream brethren in the print media. However, you can still find alt-weeklies that had a pretty good year in 2008. That's just what AAN's editor Jon Whiten did, and he reports on 10 papers that increased revenue in a story published by Editor & Publisher.

Continue ReadingTen AAN Members That Bucked the Trends and Grew in ’08

AAN's new eighth-page display ad network, known as AAN BRAN, published its first network-wide ad the week of Dec. 8. The ad, from the charity Direct Relief International, ran in scores of papers across the country and was sold by Evan Wells of the Santa Barbara Independent. Click through to learn more about the new program.

Continue ReadingNew Ad Network Launched With Nonprofit Ad

Corey Pein wrote a cover story last week on the College of Santa Fe, its party scene and its financial troubles, and now students have created a Facebook group called "People for a Public Apology from Corey Pein." The group says the story "grossly misrepresented" students and the college, and calls "for a retraction of the story, as well as a public apology by Corey Pein, also to be printed in the Reporter." The group currently has 83 members, including some SFR writers who seem to have joined to defend Pein and round out the conversation.

Continue ReadingFacebook Group Asks for Santa Fe Reporter Writer’s Apology

Peter Koht, a former reporter and editor for Metro Santa Cruz who has been working in PR for the past year, began work Monday as Santa Cruz's temporary economic development coordinator. "While Santa Cruz leaders tout Koht's PR credentials as crucial to forming strong relationships between businesses and the city," the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports, "union leaders and others have raised eyebrows at the city's hiring practices and wonder if now is the right time to appoint someone with little business experience to a business job that pays $35 per hour."

Continue ReadingCity Takes Heat for Tapping Ex-Altie for Economic Development Post