U.S. Justice Dept. Looking into Viability of Cleveland Free Times

january 28, 2008  01:20 pm
Lawyers and economists from the U.S. Justice Department are investigating if the Cleveland Free Times can "be a viable business in the current media climate" in the city, according to the Plain Dealer. The Free Times was closed in 2002 when its owner, Village Voice Media, agreed to shutter it, giving Cleveland's other alt-weekly, the New Times-owned Scene, a monopoly. (The two parent companies merged in 2005.) The Justice Dept. investigated that deal and forced the sale of Free Times to a group of investors. Former Free Times editor David Eden tells the Plain Dealer he was recently questioned by lawyers from Justice about whether or not he thought the paper could be turned around. He says he told them that Cleveland needs the paper's independent voice and he hopes it is sold to a local group rather than being bought out by the competition and closed. "It feels like deja vu all over again," he says.