The Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) has announced the winners in its 2010 awards competition, and four AAN members are in the mix. Miami New Times has placed in three categories -- Best Newspaper Food Feature (under 200K circ.), Best Newspaper Food Story and Best Newspaper Food Criticism. The Village Voice staff is competing in the Best Newspaper Food Coverage (150-250K circ.) category, while the L.A. Weekly staff is in the running for Best Food Blog. And the Mountain Xpress' Hanna Raskin, who recently decamped to the Dallas Observer, is competing in the Best Newspaper Food Column category. The placement of the winners will be announced at AFJ's annual conference in September.

Continue ReadingFour Alt-Weeklies Named Finalists in Food Journalism Awards

Managing editor Jon Elliston will leave the Asheville alt-weekly in mid-April to write a book based on his 2008 Xpress story about a short-lived summer camp that was attacked and run out of the state in 1963. Elliston, who started contributing to Xpress in 2003 and was hired as news editor in 2005 and subsequently became managing editor, says his departure is "bittersweet" but necessary. "I had dreamed of writing this book in my spare time, but that's proved impossible," he says. "It's a story that's begging to be told, and it's become clear that in order to do it right, I'll need to make it my primary endeavor for at least six months or so." Meanwhile, Xpress staff writer Brian Postelle will start a new job next week doing PR for the city of Asheville, and multimedia editor Jason Sandford recently left the paper to work on his popular local blog. "These are major changes in our news staff, which have put us all in high gear. We're losing some strong news personnel," publisher Jeff Fobes says. "But Xpress has come through a number of staff changes over the years -- and we've managed to learn and grow from them."

Continue ReadingTop Editor Will Leave Mountain Xpress

The Independent Weekly won seven total awards this year from the North Carolina Press Association, including the Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year, the highest honor given in the photography category. That award for non-daily photographers went to the paper's D.L. Anderson for the second year in a row, with the judges praising him for having "an eye for the unique, a great sense of composition, a technical touch and a natural knack." The Indy also placed first in the Online Breaking News, Best Video, General Excellence Website and Criticism categories. Mountain XPress took home two awards, including a first place win for Best Multimedia Project, and Creative Loafing (Charlotte) received one award.

Continue ReadingThree North Carolina AAN Members Nab State Press Awards

The professed atheism of Cecil Bothwell, a former staff writer at the Mountain XPress who was elected to the Asheville City Council last month, is becoming an issue in North Carolina. Bothwell is facing a challenge that stems from an odd clause in the state's constitution, which bars politicians who deny the existence of God from holding office. Bothwell's opponents are considering a lawsuit over his being allowed to take office (he affirmed the oath of office last week), even though federal courts have ruled religious tests for public office are unlawful under the U.S. Constitution. Meanwhile, the case has gone nationwide, with the Associated Press, the Huffington Post and others weighing in. Last night, Bothwell appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Staffer-Turned-Politician’s Atheism Becoming Hot Issue

After running the monthly "activist publication" Green Line for seven years, Jeff Fobes launched Mountain XPress on Aug. 10, 1994. The Asheville, N.C., weekly takes a look back with a special issue featuring a timeline of milestones and commentaries from ad director James Fisher and Fobes, who discusses -- among other things -- the shift from monthly to weekly. "[It] was an astonishing experience. The pace picked up fourfold, and it never let up," he writes. "Our tiny staff lived and breathed the audacity of the effort, working for paltry pay (though we had, thankfully, closed the multiyear chapter of working for no pay)."

Continue ReadingMountain XPress Celebrates 15th Anniversary

  • The Mountain Xpress is ending its 14-year run as a print publication today, "suspending its regular online news reports and converting its entire news operation to Twitter dispatches from staff and trusted community journalists."
  • The San Francisco Bay Guardian has settled its lawsuit with Village Voice Media, agreeing to drop its legal action and "shut the fuck up" about PG&E, sunshine, media concentration, rent control, and over-development.
  • Publisher Sally Freeman has sold the Boise Weekly to N-Corp-Al, which quickly shut the alt-weekly down and relaunched it as the Treasure Valley Weekly Post.
  • The Washington City Paper has relaunched as the Huffington City Paper.
  • Salt Lake City Weekly announced it has purchased SLUG magazine and will bring new features like "Cute Baby of the Month" and "Those Wacky Pets" to the long-running local underground-music magazine.
  • Athens, Ga., alt-weekly Flagpole has relaunched as "a celebrity 'zine about fun and style, now to be known as Starpole."
  • The East Bay Express is changing editorial course, introducing new procedures like "user-generated copyediting" and "reader-assigned stories."

Continue ReadingAAN Members Across the Country Unveil Major Changes