Editor Jon Whiten is leaving the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies; he will be replaced by current Editorial Awards and Advertising Director Jason Zaragoza. Whiten, who joined AAN in January 2006, is stepping down to focus on the local news website and arts & culture magazine he owns and operates in Jersey City, N.J. His last day on staff is March 31, but he will continue as a part-time contractor, overseeing AAN.org, for a month or two, as Zaragoza transitions from his current position into the editor role.
In an effort to increase traffic to AltWeeklies.com, and thus to member papers' Web sites, AAN modified the story-sharing Web site today to display two slightly different versions of the home page for different audiences. AAN members who are logged in will still be greeted by a home page featuring every story posted on the site, while the general public will only see content that has been selected with the general user in mind. In addition, AAN is running AltWeeklies.com ads on blogs and at the South by Southwest Festival.
Whiten began working for AAN this week as editor of its alt-weekly portal, AltWeeklies.com. He received a M.A. in media studies last May from New York University, where he researched alt-weeklies and free commuter dailies. Whiten was also a freelance writer for the past four years, having reported on local politics and media for AAN member papers Boston's Weekly Dig and the New York Press, in addition to publications like Extra!, Block Magazine and the Jersey Journal.