Creative Loafing (Sarasota) food writer and restaurant critic Brian Ries is taking over the top editor position at the paper, replacing Cooper Levey-Baker, who has left to edit the Florida Independent website. Ries says he will continue his food writing, which leads to an interesting conundrum: he will try to maintain his anonymity while performing a much more public role as the paper's editor. "Soon, there will be plenty of pictures online that restaurants could use to identify me, if they want to go to the bother," he writes. "In my experience, restaurants don't perform well when they know a critic is in the dining room, perhaps because the pressure gets to them. And I won't make it easy for them -- I'll continue to make reservations under another name, use an alias credit card, and shave my legs to match the summer dresses I plan on wearing as a disguise."

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing (Sarasota) Names New Editor

St. Petersburg Times journalist John Fleming claims that CL theater critic Mark E. Leib faces a conflict of interest working as both a critic and a playwright in the Tampa Bay area, and that objectively reviewing plays at a theater that also happens to be staging one of Leib's works should be frowned upon. "I've been theater critic for Creative Loafing for more than ten years, and this is the first time that anyone has suggested that my opinions have been influenced by any sort of favoritism for any sort of reason," Leib writes. "I don't like it and I'm not going to sit back quietly while it happens." MORE: Village Voice critic Michael Feingold, who is also a playwright, offers his take.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing Critic Finds Himself in Conflict-of-Interest Controversy

Cooper Levey-Baker took over as editor last month, after a stint as a field organizer for the Obama campaign in Sarasota County. Levey-Baker started at CL as an intern in 2004, and then worked as events editor, music writer, and arts writer until he left to work for Obama this year. "I'm really looking forward to engage more with local politics here in the area," he tells AAN News, "and to improve both our paper and the website so that we become the hub for the cool side of Sarasota."

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing (Sarasota) Has a New Editor

The company, which owns Creative Loafing papers in Atlanta, Charlotte, Sarasota and Tampa, as well as the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, the St. Petersburg Times reports. City Paper editor Erik Wemple reports that CEO Ben Eason discussed the filing with top company officials in a conference call this morning, and said that the bankruptcy filing would allow CL's six papers to establish a greater online presence while the company reorganizes its operations. A corporate memo on the filing says it "has little to do with the acquisition" of the Reader and City Paper last year. Eason also said that the move entails no liquidation or layoffs. In fact, the Chapter 11 filing will roll back editorial staff cuts at the papers, Wemple writes. MORE: Read more about the move from Creative Loafing (Tampa), the Reader, Crain's and Bloomberg News.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

CL's publications in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Charlotte and Sarasota have joined the company's Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper as members of Ruxton, according to a press release issued this afternoon by Village Voice Media's national advertising firm. Under the arrangement, Ruxton will serve as Creative Loafing's exclusive representative for national print advertising and also will provide non-exclusive representation for online advertising.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing’s Southern Papers Join Ruxton Media Group

Creative Loafing has named Jonathan Maziarz as editor of the Sarasota edition. He succeeds Max Linsky, who has been named manager and online editor for Creative Loafing's corporate office. "With nearly 500 columns under his belt, Maziarz has edited newspapers in the mountains of Colorado, the shores of Lake Tahoe and, most recently, on the coast of Georgia," according to a press release. "I admire the Creative Loafing philosophy of providing a serious alternative to the mainstream media, mixing a strong sense of community with an independent spirit and a sense of humor," Maziarz says in the release. "I am ready to bring my experience, leadership and enthusiasm to the CL team."

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing (Sarasota) Names New Editor