The Denver alt-weekly's cover story this week details how video game developer NetDevil is creating a LEGO version of World of Warcraft with the game LEGO Universe, so Westword decided to have NetDevil's digital model model designer create a giant LEGO version of its logo. The designer worked with Westword art director Jay Vollmar to create a four-foot-long, bright-red logo, which is on the paper's cover and now sits in the office window of editor Patricia Calhoun, "much to the amazement of passersby."

Continue ReadingVideo Game Developer Makes Giant Westword Logo out of LEGOs

Jason Sheehan's Cooking Dirty has been named one of TIME's Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2009. "It's a paradox of the post-Bourdain era: chef memoirs are trendy, but none of the chefs writing them have the freakish combination of cooking and writing talent that made Anthony Bourdain a star," Lev Grossman writes. "But Jason Sheehan comes damn close, and he gives the genre his own distinctive seasoning." Sheehan recently made the move from Westword to the Seattle Weekly.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Food Writer’s Book Makes TIME’s Year-End Top 10 List

Earlier this year, the Denver alt-weekly Westword made waves when it began accepting applications for a critic to review medical marijuana dispensaries. Now its sister paper OC Weekly has also gone to pot -- the paper is hiring a freelance medical marijuana writer. "The ideal candidate will be a skilled, experienced writer and reporter who is well-versed in the history and politics of California's medical-pot laws -- from Proposition 215 to Senate Bill 420 to any municipal ordinances," editor Ted Kissell writes in a blog post.

Continue ReadingAnother Alt-Weekly Looking for Someone to Write About Pot

In a report on how Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry is creating a "so called gold rush" for media companies that are accepting advertising from the dispensaries, KUNC's Bente Birkeland says "no newspaper has embraced the industry more than Westword." The Denver alt-weekly "is covered with pages and pages of medical marijuana ads for green docs, natural remedies and alternative healing," KUNC notes. But Poynter's Al Tompkins says that accepting the ads could pose potential problems for newspapers. "The fact is it is still against the law on the federal level," he says. "Even though there is no desire to prosecute it, it is still illegal, and generally it's against the law to be advertising an illegal act."

Continue ReadingWestword Cashing In on Medical Marijuana Boom

After Westword started taking applications for a position reviewing the Denver area's medical marijuana dispensaries, Phoenix New Times decided it would "do the same regarding the Valley's drug of choice" -- meth. "The column will focus on a few things: Quality of the drug, of course, but also the safety of users," James King writes. "We want to know where to find quality meth that won't kill you right away."

Continue ReadingPhoenix New Times Seeks Meth Critic

The Denver alt-weekly received a total of more than 200 applications for a gig reviewing the region's medical marijuana dispensaries. Editor Patricia Calhoun says the flood of interested critics, applying from all over the globe, was likely correlated to the worldwide media coverage Westword's unusual opening has received.

Continue ReadingWestword No Longer Accepting Pot Critic Applications

The Denver alt-weekly's search for a critic to review the region's medical marijuana dispensaries got another big news splash yesterday, thanks to an Associated Press story. The AP reports that Westword has received more than 120 applications for the position, with many people offering to write for free. The idea to hire a critic came from staff writer Joel Warner, who says he noticed how different the dispensaries were as he covered the medical marijuana industry. "Some really looked like your college drug dealer's dorm room. You know, Bob Marley posters on the wall and big marijuana leaf posters," he says. "But then some were so fancy, like dentist's offices. They had bubbling aquariums in the lobby and were so clean. I thought, somebody needs to review these. Somebody needs to tell people what these places are like."

Continue ReadingWestword Has Received More than 120 Applicants for Pot Critic Gig

In its quest to find a medical marijuana dispensary reviewer, the Denver alt-weekly is asking would-be critics to write a brief essay on "What Marijuana Means to Me." Editor Patricia Calhoun says that the national media attention has brought in quite a few applications -- "some silly, some actually spelled correctly (many potheads don't seem to care for punctuation), some very sincere."

Continue ReadingApplications for Westword Pot Critic Gig ‘Continue to Pour In’

"It's funny how the national media has jumped all over this," Patricia Calhoun writes of the attention being given to the paper's quest to hire a freelance critic to review medical marijuana dispensaries. But while most outlets have taken a "light, fun" tone to the story, she says the issue is serious business in Colorado. "There's one aspect of our search for a reviewer that's not funny: How very, very important easy access to quality medical marijuana is for so many people," Calhoun writes.

Continue ReadingWestword Editor: Pot Critic Story is ‘Very Serious’