Ten Newspapers Apply for AAN Membership

Ten newspapers have applied for membership in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies this year, and the status of two current member papers will be reviewed. Those issues and other association business will be addressed at the organization’s next Annual Meeting, which will be held in Little Rock on Saturday, June 17, the last day of the 29th annual AAN convention.

AAN members will see some familiar names among the applicants. Four of the papers applied for membership last year: The Independent Weekly (Lafayette, La.), Las Vegas Citylife, Port Folio Weekly (Hampton Roads, Va..), and The Chattanooga Pulse. In addition, Independent News (Pensacola, Fla.) submitted applications under a slightly different name in 2002 and 2004, Portland Mercury applied in 2002, Toledo City Paper gave it a try in 2001, and Urban Tulsa Weekly threw its hat in the ring in 1999.

There are also some familiar faces. The Beat, a biweekly based in Greenville, S.C., is co-owned by James Shannon, who was the editor of AAN member MetroBEAT when it ceased production in April 2005. And The Independent Weekly is owned by Steve and Cherie May, who previously owned former AAN member the Times of Acadiana, also published in Lafayette.

The AAN Membership Committee will review the newspapers and their applications over the next several months and will discuss their findings when the committee meets in Little Rock on Wednesday, June 14.

The Membership Committee will also evaluate Boston’s Weekly Dig and Cityview (Des Moines), the first papers to face a membership review under a 2004 change in AAN’s bylaws. As a result of that amendment, AAN papers that experience a change in controlling ownership must submit to a review no earlier than nine months (and no later than 24 months) after the new owners assume control. Weekly Dig was sold in Oct. 2004, and Cityview changed hands in April 2005.

Membership Committee chair Paula Routly, co-owner of Seven Days in Burlington, Vt., says that when reviewing current AAN members, the committee will be “looking for the same things [they] look for in applying papers.” Three issues of the newspaper prior to the ownership change are compared to three issues since, “to see how the new ownership has affected the paper,” Routly says.

Following its meeting in Little Rock, the committee will issue its recomendations regarding each application and both reviews prior to the Annual Meeting. The 10 applying papers must be approved by two-thirds of the members voting at the meeting in order to join AAN, while Boston’s Weekly Dig and Cityview only require affirmative votes from one-third of the members to retain their memberships.

These are the 10 newspapers that have applied for AAN membership this year:

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