The Association of Alternative Newsmedia (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 and leadership that ensure its members’ success and strengthen narrative, investigative and community journalism through advocacy and education. AAN focuses on accelerating member success through various initiatives, 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.
  • A tolerance 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 began with 30 newspapers, including the San Francisco Bay GuardianCreative LoafingPhoenix New TimesWillamette Week and the Chicago Reader.

In 2011, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies became the Association of Alternative Newsmedia to reflect its newly-adopted bylaws allowing digital-only members to join for the first time. While the name change was a practical move, philosophically it meant an industry-wide acceptance of the evolution that had been occurring in local markets at member papers across the country for several years. And, like the whole media industry, AAN papers are engaged in a huge pivot, one in which they are seeking to remake the business model in a way that supports our brand of 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 >>