In the fourteenth installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, the Santa Barbara Independent's Nick Welsh discusses his award-winning media coverage of the local daily. In the midst of reporting on turmoil at the Santa Barbara News-Press, Welsh eventually became part of the story himself, as he was sued by the paper for copyright infringement. He tells Tess Martinez how he became the go-to guy for News-Press news, the chilling effect of being sued by another paper, and how the Independent has stepped in as the News-Press has essentially committed suicide. "Santa Barbara is a community trying to figure out how to live without a daily paper," Welsh says. "At the Independent, we're trying to figure out a way to become a de facto daily with the internet. We're doing OK, but we're still struggling."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Nick Welsh

AAN News has been informed that we missed the fact that the Santa Barbara Independent won several California Newspaper Publishers Association awards when we reported on the awards last week. Indy publisher Randy Campbell notes that the press association for some reason omitted the "Santa Barbara" from the paper's name and simply called it The Independent. The alt-weekly won five awards this year, including first-place finishes in Feature Photo and Investigative/Enterprise Reporting.

Continue ReadingCorrection: Another AAN Member Was Honored at California Press Awards

Reporter staff writer Dave Maass has created a fictional zombie apocalypse in Santa Fe, using real information and scenarios. "To determine whether Santa Fe could prevent a zombie infection from expanding into a full-blown global zombie apocalypse," Maass interviewed scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, emergency responders, a company that maps infectious disease spread, cops and dozens of others. The result: a multimedia cover story and web packages, including maps, videos, and a zombie photo shoot featuring Santa Fe's mayor. Watch the outbreak spread below:

Continue ReadingSanta Fe Reporter Unleashes Zombie Apocalypse

Reporter staff writer Dave Maass dominated the news writing category for Division 1 Weeklies (over 5,000 circulation) in the annual New Mexico Press Association newspaper contest. Maass won both first and second place in the category, making him the only winner in the category for Division 1. Additionally, SFR writer Zane Fischer placed first for column writing. The awards were announced at a banquet on Sunday.

Continue ReadingSanta Fe Reporter Dominates News Category in State Press Awards

In the seventh installment of this year's "How I Got That Story" series, Santa Fe Reporter columnist Zane Fischer discusses his award-winning column, Zane's World, with Elena Brown. Fischer, who came to the alt-weekly world from the nonprofit sector, talks about the steep learning curve he faced starting out as a SFR columnist, how he comes up with ideas, and what he wishes more columnists would do. "Invoke a dialogue," he says. "One component of a column should be the continuous dialogue with the readers. It's all part of the process of building community."

Continue ReadingHow I Got That Story: Zane Fischer

The production manager of the Santa Fe New Mexican says escalating paper prices are the result of last year's merger between major paper producers Abitibi and Bowater, the weak dollar and the increasing cost of the commodity used to make newsprint. Santa Fe Reporter publisher Andy Dudzik tells the New Mexican his paper is "absorbing" the price increases while "trying to be smarter about papers." (See Dudzik's comment by clicking on "Permalink/Comments" below.) He also says the Reporter recently started distributing in Albuquerque and the decision "has met with a favorable reception."

Continue ReadingRising Cost of Newsprint Bedevils Papers

IndyAlert will provide email, text message, and radio announcements (via partner station KCSB-FM) "during emergencies and public safety challenges." The service is free, but users must subscribe. "In the past two years we've been on the literal front lines of many of Santa Barbara's disasters and emergencies, with our website providing timely coverage we couldn't achieve with the weekly newspaper. But we sometimes found the immediacy of our website was inconvenient or unavailable," publisher Randy Campbell says. "By adding text messaging and email alerts, we can use the wide availability of cell phones to keep our subscribers informed. Add radio to the mix and we've got particularly valuable tools for communication during a power outage or on the go."

Continue ReadingSanta Barbara Independent Launches Emergency Alert Service

That's what the New Mexico governor and erstwhile Democratic presidential hopeful said while accepting his "Best of Santa Fe" award for "Best Politician." Richardson said he's been an avid reader of the Reporter for many years, and said, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that he considered the paper the best because "they have excellent taste in politicians."

Continue ReadingBill Richardson: Santa Fe Reporter is ‘Best Newspaper in New Mexico’

Editor & Publisher has recognized the Santa Barbara Independent as one of 10 newspapers of note, in their annual "10 That Do It Right" feature. The Independent is the only AAN member on this year's list (the Bay Guardian made the cut last year), which showcases newspapers in the US that are "performing in one particular aspect -- from marketing to online video -- that merits consideration and maybe even emulation by their peers." E&P notes that the Independent has become the top source for local news in town by capitalizing on turmoil at the daily Santa Barbara News-Press and by focusing on its website. "When you talk about the paper of record, you really are assuming that's the paper that has the institutional memory," Indy editor-in-chief Marianne Partridge says. "The fact is, it's our paper that has all the institutional memory."

Continue ReadingSanta Barbara Named One of ’10 That Do it Right’ by E&P

A little before noon yesterday, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California, with an epicenter 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake, which was the largest in SoCal in more than a decade but apparently caused no major damage, was felt in AAN-member offices from San Diego to Santa Barbara, judging by a quick perusal of blogs. "[It] felt like I was standing on a rocking waterbed for at least 12 seconds. The building swayed back and forth. A large corkboard fell off my office wall," the OC Weekly's R. Scott Moxley reports. "An energy drink can stupidly placed (by me) on top of a file cabinet flew three feet in the air. The staff quickly evacuated the building and found phone lines dead." Up in Culver City at LA Weekly's offices, Mark Mauer notes: "The new LA Weekly building shakes like a leaf (at least around my desk) every time a car enters or leaves our garage, so it took a few extra seconds to figure out this was an actual earthquake and not just an SUV trying to find a parking space." The Santa Barbara Independent's Matt Kettman reports feeling a "long, rolling sensation," while San Diego CityBeat's Kinsee Morgan wins the award for brevity, simply noting the quake was the "biggest one I've felt yet."

Continue ReadingEarthquake Hits Southern California, Alt-Weekly Offices Feel It