After announcing yesterday that he was leaving Washington City Paper to edit a new local news website being launched by Allbritton Communications (the folks behind Politico), Wemple and Allbritton's Jim Brady made the media rounds to talk about the move. Here are some highlights:

  • Wemple tells Politico he's excited about the potential of the new site: "I think the possibilities, the horizons, really open up if you look at the talent and the resources that are behind this."
  • The site will try to incorporate work from Politico and Allbritton's two local TV operations, Wemple tells the Washington Post: "We're hoping to really carve some new ground as to how a TV and web operation can mutually reinforce themselves."
  • Brady explains to Washington Business Journal why he hired Wemple: "When you read the City Paper, you get a sense they're really having fun. That's not happening in a ton of places in journalism these days."
  • Wemple says he hopes to launch the site with between 15 and 20 reporters; DCist wonders if any will be current City Paper staffers.

Continue ReadingErik Wemple Says His New Job is ‘an Enormous Opportunity’

Wemple told the City Paper staff this morning that he's leaving in mid-March to edit a new local news website being launched by Allbritton Communications. Wemple has been affiliated with City Paper on and off since 1994, and has edited the alt-weekly since 2002. Wemple says Jim Brady, the former editor of whom Albritton tapped to lead the new project, wants the new site to have the "Washington City Paper voice and feel and sense of authority about local stuff."

Continue ReadingWashington City Paper Editor Erik Wemple is Leaving the Paper

AAN's executive director and Washington City Paper's editor joined the Project for Excellence in Journalism's Mark Jurkowitz and former Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff on a D.C. public-radio show yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion about how the digital transformation, changing demographics and the recession are affecting alternative media.

Continue ReadingRichard Karpel, Erik Wemple Talk About Alt-Media’s ‘Economic Woes’

Washington City Paper editor Erik Wemple will discuss his award-winning media reporting with Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle on this Friday, Oct. 30. Wemple took home first place for "One Mission, Two Newsrooms," his examination of the divide between the digital and print staffs at the Washington Post. Friday's chat will begin at 3 pm EDT.

Continue ReadingNext ‘How I Got That Story’ Live Chat: Friday Afternoon

This week's release of Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson's report "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" has the journalism world buzzing. "The report takes a particular interest in local accountability and enterprise reporting," Washington City Paper editor Erik Wemple notes, "which is the commodity most at stake as newspapers pare down their editorial staffs." After searching the report for any mention of the alt-weekly's role in journalism's future and finding none, Wemple says he understands. "After all, alt-weeklies ... only channel all of their editorial resources toward local reporting; only conduct long-form investigations of key local agencies and authorities all the time; only monitor city halls like no one's business; only do all kinds of arts reporting that no other outlets care to do; and have been at it only for about half a century now," he writes. "Why mention those news organizations?"

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Editor Asks Downie and Schudson: What About Us?

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 cover of this week's paper -- with the provocative headline, "You put me out in Denver 'cause I wouldn't suck your dick" -- has some district residents upset, the Washington Post reports. City Paper says the city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has received several calls complaining about the cover, which features a photo of councilman and former mayor Marion Barry with his arm around an ex-girlfriend who has accused him of stalking her. (The quote was taken from a recording of a confrontation between Barry and the ex-girlfriend.) "Some people are going to find that vulgar -- that's inevitable," editor Erik Wemple says. "If they find it vulgar, they can complain. It's worth putting it out there, and it's the truth. Sometimes the truth is vulgar." Publisher Amy Austin tells the Post that the negative reaction has been "much less than I expected," and that only three distribution spots have called to say they wouldn't display the paper while one has called to ask for more copies.

Continue ReadingSome D.C. Residents Cry Foul Over Washington City Paper’s Cover

Faithful readers may recall that on April Fool's Day, City Paper reworked its website to ape HuffPo's look. The parody -- The Huffington City Paper -- even received kudos from HuffPo itself. Now -- a day after the publication of a well-read City Paper column criticizing HuffPo -- the aggregator is asking the alt-weekly to remove the lightly trafficked page from its archives, in part because it contains a link to HuffPo. "Never thought I'd be scolded by a Huffington Post official for linking," writes editor Erik Wemple. "But I was!"

Continue ReadingHuffington Post to Washington City Paper: Take Down Parody Page

In a conversation with D.C.-area public radio host Kojo Nnamdi about "the changing face of City Paper," Erik Wemple says that "perhaps a little too much has been made of" his previous comments on the fate of long-form narrative pieces in the paper. Those stories are "an incredible abyss of work," he says. "We could not really sustain that sort of investment, while at the same time feeding the website." However, he adds, "it's not as if we will stop doing long narrative altogether," it will just be less often. He also notes that long-form narratives often don't generate much web traffic, and that Creative Loafing has made the web a priority. "If we don't come up with models that push web traffic, we are dead, and I am out of a job," Wemple says.

Continue ReadingWashington City Paper Editor Talks More About the Changes to Come