AAN News

Alltop CEO Guy Kawasaki Bullish on Alt-Weekliesnew

During an interview before his SXSW keynote address with Wired editor Chris Anderson, Kawasaki says that he's been told that Village Voice Media papers are "doing quite well." The web publishing entrepreneur uses that example to say he doesn't believe all newspapers face the decision to charge for content or go under. "It's something to look at. It can be done," he says. "I don't think it's a situation where everything is going to die."
L.A. Weekly  |  03-23-2009  10:14 am  |  Industry News

Complaint Against Attorney for New Times Probe is Dismissednew

The State Bar has dismissed the final two complaints pending against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, including one about his handling of the 2007 investigation of Phoenix New Times that ended with the arrests of Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin. "No one in their right mind has ever looked to the Arizona Bar as a beacon of courage, and it has certainly upheld its longstanding reputation with this dismissal today," Larkin says.
Phoenix New Times  |  03-10-2009  8:53 am  |  Industry News

Matt Groening's Comic Dropped by L.A. Weeklynew

The Simpsons creator and longtime alt-weekly cartoonist tells CNN that, after 22 years, "Life in Hell" is being dropped by its flagship paper. The cut is part of Village Voice Media's suspension of all syndicated cartoons. Groening hints he's thinking of discontinuing the cartoon. "I'm still in a bunch of other papers, so I may continue to do my strip," he says, "but it doesn't look good."
CNN  |  03-03-2009  8:52 am  |  Industry News

San Francisco Bay Guardian Lawyers Honored by Magazinenew

Among the 43 attorneys that California Lawyer magazine gave California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards to are the three lawyers who worked the Bay Guardian's predatory-pricing case against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media. Ralph Alldredge, Rich Hill and Craig Moody "deftly made the case" for the Guardian, California Lawyer says in a press release.
San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  02-19-2009  10:30 am  |  Honors & Achievements

Village Voice Media Execs Talk Web Strategy

VVM's digital publishing strategy has been in the news quite a bit lately, whether it was the company's partnership with a social-networking site or its use of Digg to help drive traffic to its stories. Chief operating officer Scott Tobias and web and digital operations director Bill Jensen spoke with AAN News this week about where the paper is going with web publishing. They tell us that digital is a growth area for VVM, both in terms of pageviews and revenue, and they talk about new projects like geo-targeted ads and a national food website. (FULL STORY)
AAN News  |  02-10-2009  4:28 pm  |  Industry News

VVM Suspends Syndicated Cartoonsnew

Tom Tomorrow broke the news yesterday on his blog that the ailing economy is forcing Village Voice Media to suspend publication of syndicated cartoons "at least through the rest of the first quarter, and quite possibly beyond." City Pages editor Kevin Hoffman tells the Minnesota Independent he expects some reader backlash, but says the suspension is part of an effort to "trim where we can while inflicting the least damage -- realizing that we're already cutting bone." MORE: Syndicated cartoonists Jen Sorensen and Derf weigh in.
This Modern World | Minnesota Independent  |  01-27-2009  4:10 pm  |  Industry News

Village Voice Media Social-Networking Site Draws Controversynew

"(VVM) ... is using a social-networking company it owns to erode the wall between editorial content and advertising by promoting its advertisers under the guise of community buzz," reports The Stranger. The Seattle alt-weekly made the claim after scouring the user-generated reviews on the Yelp-like LikeMe.net and purportedly discovering that a majority were thumbs-up recommendations written by VVM ad staff. But in a response posted on Seattle Weekly's website, VVM says its employees posted the reviews to "test drive" the new site, which had yet to be officially announced, and that the number of posts do not constitute a majority. VVM also notes that earlier reports that it owns a controlling interest in the new "local recommendation engine" are erroneous.
The Stranger | Seattle Weekly  |  01-22-2009  6:24 pm  |  Industry News

VVM Memo Discusses Company-Wide Layoffs and Cutbacksnew

In a Dec. 31 memo to all Village Voice Media staffers, CEO Jim Larkin and executive editor Michael Lacey say "this year we have found it necessary to make staff reductions and have placed all staff openings on hold." The memo also details "additional measures" being taken by the company to weather the current economy storm. All VVM senior managers and officers (including Larkin and Lacey) are taking 15 percent pay cuts, all publishers and editors are taking 10 percent pay cuts, and VVM is suspending its match into the company's 401(k) plan. MORE: Westword loses three editorial staffers, The Pitch lays off several, City Pages parts ways with two, and New Times Broward-Palm Beach eliminates several positions.
Westword  |  01-06-2009  9:55 am  |  Industry News

Chief Operating Officer Talks About How VVM's Papers Are Faringnew

Responding in part to rumors circulating on a Denver website that Village Voice Media is on the brink of collapse, president and COO Scott Tobias talks to Westword's Michael Roberts about how the company's 15 papers are faring. Tobias says the company as a whole remains profitable and any talk of insolvency is hogwash, but concedes that times are tough. "Are we soft?" he asked. "No question. We go as our local mom and pops go, and our local mom and pops are having a hard time." He also talks about the company's new "uberblogger" strategy, which started with Roberts in Denver. One staff member at each paper is now being tasked with writing a handful of blog posts each day and editing and processing blog posts by other staffers and freelancers. Tobias says the focus on daily content is part of a transition "from a print product to a web platform with a print piece."
Westword  |  12-24-2008  11:18 am  |  Industry News

VVM's Digital Director Talks About How They've Approached the Webnew

In a video interview from last month's Digital Hollywood conference, Village Voice Media director of web and digital operations Bill Jensen tells Vator TV's Ezra Roizen about how VVM has stepped up its game online. "The key is ... we had to go daily," Jensen says. "That was the biggest challenge ... changing the culture to go from weekly to daily." He says that each VVM paper now has about 30 pieces of daily content going up on its site, in addition to the weekly content being created for the paper.
Vator TV  |  11-13-2008  1:06 pm  |  Industry News

Woman Suing the Nashville Scene Found Not Guilty of Prostitutionnew

Former stripper Michelle Peacock was exonerated by a jury of all charges on Tuesday, the Nashville Scene reports. Peacock is seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from reporter P.J. Tobia, the Scene, and its parent company in a defamation suit over an October 2007 story which cited an arrest report detailing the alleged prostitution.
Nashville Scene  |  11-06-2008  8:50 am  |  Legal News

Last Year's Arrest of VVM Execs Becomes Campaign Issuenew

Tim Nelson, the Democrat challenging Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, is running a radio ad accusing Thomas of ordering the October 2007 arrests of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey because they reported in Phoenix New Times that they had been served a sweeping subpoena from a special prosecutor demanding information about the paper's online readers, Editor & Publisher reports. The ad says Thomas is responsible for "arresting journalists in the dark of night in front of their families because of what they published," and accuses Thomas of using KGB tactics. (New Times reports that Thomas tried to get the commercial pulled from local airwaves.) "Make no mistake about it: the New Times subpoenas and arrests were a massive abuse of power and the public trust," Nelson said at a press conference yesterday. "They have brought ridicule to our county and its justice system."
Editor & Publisher | Phoenix New Times  |  10-31-2008  9:34 am  |  Industry News

Critic Pans Alt-Weekly Convention Coverage; Alts Fight Backnew

Columbia Journalism Review assistant editor Jane Kim claims in a blog post that "one thing that was sorely lacking from the past two weeks of convention spotlighting was good alt weekly coverage." She then uses a couple of blog features from convention host-city papers Westword and City Pages to prove the "sad results" of "consolidation of the alt weeklies under VVM." In the comments section, Westword editor Patricia Calhoun argues that staff cartoonist Kenny Be, whose "Delegating Denver" series provided grist for Kim's critique, is "the town's best political columnist," adding that "to quote lines without the context of the artwork is hardly fair" when criticizing a cartoon. AAN executive director Richard Karpel, meanwhile, points out that both papers broke significant convention-related news prior to the conventions, and that several dozen other alt-weeklies had folks on the ground during the confabs. "It seems clear from the tone of this piece that Kim went in with a set of preconceived ideas -- the all-too-easy meme that corporate ownership leads to homogenization -- and wasn't going to let the facts get in her way at 4:42 p.m. on a Friday," City Pages' editor-in-chief Kevin Hoffman adds. Lastly, Village Voice Media executive associate editor Andy Van De Voorde takes Kim to task for "focusing on 'the various shades of Banana Republic grey' worn by the Palins" in her own work during the conventions, while City Pages reporters were arrested, roughed up, and pepper-sprayed as "a direct result of their decision to actually go out and cover news."
Columbia Journalism Review  |  09-09-2008  9:10 am  |  Industry News  |  Comments (1)

Ruxton Media Group Continues to Expand

Six more AAN members have joined Ruxton and industry veteran Yolanda Luszcz was promoted to head the national advertising agency's burgeoning digital network, according to a press release issued this morning. The Shepherd Express, the Memphis Flyer and Gambit Weekly have all chosen Ruxton to represent them for national sales in both print and digital mediums, while Boise Weekly, Seven Days and Isthmus have joined the Ruxton Digital Media Network (RDMN) for non-exclusive representation of their digital products. Ruxton has also created a Publishers Advisory Committee (PAC) for RDMN, "to ensure that Ruxton's publisher partners are fully vested in the rapidly changing world of digital marketing and advertising." The first elections for PAC reps will be the week of September 15, and the PAC's first meeting will be October 23 in Houston. (FULL STORY)
Ruxton Media Group Press Release  |  09-03-2008  8:08 am  |  Press Releases

Times-Shamrock Papers Join Ruxton Media Group

Baltimore City Paper, Metro Times, Orlando Weekly and the San Antonio Current are as of today exclusively represented by Ruxton for national print advertising, according to a press release. The papers will join their newly-acquired sister paper, the Cleveland Scene, as part of the advertising network owned and operated by Village Voice Media. VVM chief operating officer Scott Tobias says the discussions about joining Ruxton began while VVM and Times-Shamrock were negotiating the sale of the Scene earlier this year. The addition of the four papers means Ruxton has a print presence in 50 American cities, including all of the top 20 markets, with a total weekly print circulation of more than 3.6 million. (FULL STORY)
Ruxton Media Group Press Release  |  08-11-2008  9:02 am  |  Press Releases