AAN is a 501c(6) organization representing over 100 news media organizations throughout North America. AAN member publications reach millions of educated and influential adults in print and digitally.

AAN provides services, training and advocacy to our members. The association aims to help members strengthen their narrative, investigative and community journalism while giving members tools to increase revenues and build thriving organizations. AAN focuses on increasing the impact of its members through training sessions, conferences, vendor relationships and shared resources, always with an eye toward excellent journalism and community engagement.

AAN is a big tent with a wide variety of publishers, but all share these attributes:

  • An intense focus on local news, culture and the arts
  • An emphasis on point-of-view reporting and narrative journalism
  • Respect for individual freedoms and social differences
  • An eagerness to report on issues and communities that many mainstream media outlets ignore

AAN members speak truth to power.


AAN began as the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies in Seattle, Wash., in 1978. It started with 30 newspapers, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian<, Creative Loafing, Phoenix New Times, Willamette Week and the Chicago Reader.

In 2024, the board of directors unanimously voted to shorten our name to AAN. The new name reflects our broad focus on local, independent media that is authentic, accountable and affirming for the communities they serve. AAN members stand as an alternative to corporate and hedge-fund-owned conglomerates, often serving as the paper of record on critical issues in their communities.

AAN welcomes all local media organizations focusing on quality reporting to join us, including nonprofit, BIPOC-owned and operated, and LGBTQ+-focused media and media in verticals such as the environment and criminal justice.

AAN supports publishers in North America and elsewhere who seek to fulfill the role of the free press in a thriving democracy through quality journalism.

Who are AAN's Members?

There is great power in a united coalition with common goals, and AAN represents the interests of alternative publications through partnerships with companies that support our members’ missions and day-to-day operations. Most importantly, AAN members support one another by sharing ideas and solutions to problems many alternative media outlets face.

AAN’s member publications are instinctive experimenters – they’ve made their names as agile trendsetters, ready to jump on new ideas in business. They enjoy a reputation of independent, thoughtful voices within our communities. Our members’ ethos is edgy and forward thinking, community and local committed, but digitally savvy and business minded.

Interested in finding out more about AAN membership?  Please reach out – email Todd Stauffer at todd@aan.org.

Curious about who belongs to AAN? See our Member Directory >>