AAN News

New Editor Named at New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Eric Barton, the managing editor of Village Voice Media's The Pitch in Kansas City, will take over soon as the company's top editorial employee in Fort Lauderdale. According to a VVM press release, Barton "was closely involved in the growth of The Pitch's website" during his tenure in Kansas City, and he helped Pitch.com "double its traffic by adding blogs, video, audio, podcasts and slideshows." Barton takes the reins at New Times Broward-Palm Beach on September 22. (FULL STORY)
Village Voice Media Press Release  |  08-08-2008  12:52 pm  |  Press Releases

SF Weekly Publisher a Reticent Witness in Antitrust Casenew

San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond reports that Josh Fromson "provided almost nothing" in his turn as a witness yesterday in the Bay Guardian-SF Weekly predatory-pricing lawsuit. Redmond suggests that Fromson feigned ignorance in response to questions posed by the Bay Guardian's attorney during a hearing designed to help the paper collect on its judgment against SF Weekly and its parent company, Village Voice Media. Earlier this year, a San Francisco Superior Court jury ruled in favor of the Bay Guardian, and the judge in the case set damages at $15.9 million. VVM announced last month that it plans to appeal the ruling.
San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  08-07-2008  7:06 pm  |  Industry News

SF Weekly Will Appeal Ruling in Bay Guardian Casenew

In a move that was widely expected, SF Weekly and Village Voice Media have announced they will appeal San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller's ruling in favor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian in the predatory-pricing case. Miller rejected arguments last week to overturn or modify the jury's March verdict. Calling the suit "economic terrorism," VVM CEO Jim Larkin claims "mom-and-pop advertisers in San Francisco will suffer from [Judge Miller's] handiwork, as will any aggressive new business in the city that attempts to challenge a larger, established competitor."
SF Weekly  |  07-23-2008  11:05 am  |  Industry News

Judge Denies SF Weekly's Motion for New Trial Against Guardiannew

With little comment, Judge Marla Miller on Friday denied requests from SF Weekly to overturn the verdict in favor of the Bay Guardian or to order a new trial, the Guardian reports. The ruling means the predatory-pricing case will likely head to the California Court of Appeal.
San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  07-21-2008  8:14 am  |  Industry News

SF Weekly and Bay Guardian Argue Weekly's Motion for New Trial

The two papers were in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday to argue the Weekly's motion for a new trial and its request that the judge overturn a jury verdict in the predatory-pricing suit. Judge Marla Miller has until July 18 to rule on the motions; if she rules against the Weekly, it will take the case to the California Court of Appeals. In dueling blog posts, the Weekly lays out the four chief arguments put forth by its lawyers and pokes a little fun at the Guardian's lawyers, while the Guardian details the Weekly's "at times highly technical" arguments, which "hinged on the finer points of the definitions of words."
SF Weekly | San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  07-10-2008  10:01 am  |  Industry News

Creative Loafing's Southern Papers Join Ruxton Media Group

CL's publications in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Charlotte and Sarasota have joined the company's Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper as members of Ruxton, according to a press release issued this afternoon by Village Voice Media's national advertising firm. Under the arrangement, Ruxton will serve as Creative Loafing's exclusive representative for national print advertising and also will provide non-exclusive representation for online advertising. (FULL STORY)
Ruxton Media Group Press Release  |  07-09-2008  4:27 pm  |  Press Releases

Village Voice Employees Sign Contract, Avoid Walkoutnew

The unionized Voice employees averted a strike early this morning, forging an agreement with Village Voice Media for a new three-year contract, the New York Press reports. "We got a deal. 3 o'clock this morning," Voice staff writer and shop steward Tom Robbins tells the Press. "We won a good victory for unions." Under the new contract, which was unanimously ratified this morning, union members will not be expected to pay any portion of the premium of their health care, and Robbins says the new contract calls for a raise.
New York Press  |  07-01-2008  12:36 pm  |  Industry News

Tim Redmond: Cleveland Merger Marks a 'Curious New Chapter'new

The San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor offers his take on the deal announced last week that will merge the Cleveland Free Times and Cleveland Scene under new owners Times Shamrock. He wonders why "VVM couldn't create a monopoly, [but] another newspaper outfit apparently can." He's referring to when the Justice Department nixed a similar 2002 deal between New Times and Village Voice Media (then two separate companies) that shuttered the Free Times. Justice forced the sale of Free Times to a group of investors, and the paper reopened in May 2003. "I'll leave it to you to speculate on why we couldn't do this deal, but Times Shamrock could," VVM executive editor Andy Van De Voorde says. Redmond says the Justice Department has yet to respond to his request for comment.
San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  06-27-2008  8:33 am  |  Industry News

New Nashville Scene Editor Gets Mixed Reactionnew

Outgoing editor Liz Garrigan reports that she had "openly recommended Scene managing editor Matt Pulle for [her] job, and he was seriously considered." But in the end, Village Voice Media brought Pete Kotz over from the soon-to-be-defunct Cleveland Scene, a move that was criticized by some of the paper's staff. "Bypassing Matt sent exactly the wrong message to the city: It said that the Scene is just another interchangeable cog in a big corporate wheel," one staffer says anonymously. Former Scene media critic Henry Walker agrees. "The idea of an alternative weekly paper importing an editor would have been almost unthinkable just a decade ago," he says. "[But VVM] has pioneered the adoption of a cookie-cutter news and design formula and the employment of fungible editors among the alternative weeklies." VVM executive editor Michael Lacey, for one, isn't buying Walker's critique. "For nearly 40 years, we, like most alternative newspaper owners, have selected editors, writers and columnists based upon their skill, not their birth certificate," Lacey says. "Walker's simplistic comments reflect parochial jingoism."
Nashville Scene  |  06-26-2008  1:04 pm  |  Industry News

Village Voice Staff and Management Meet Today for Contract Talksnew

The two sides are trying to reach an agreement on a new contract before June 30, when the unionized Voice employees' current contract will expire, the New York Post reports. "The battle lines have already been drawn, and, not surprisingly, health care is a major focal point," says the Post. Staff writer and shop steward Tom Robbins says that the unionized employees are being asked to join a contributory health plan for the first time. He estimates the plan could cost each employee up to $5,500 per year, and notes that the union has put forth a wage increase proposal, but he isn't sure that will work. "There is no way they are going to give us a pay increase to match that [health care cost increase]," Robbins says. There has been talk that a strike is possible if the contract isn't in place by the end of June, but editor Tony Ortega is hopeful a deal can be reached. "I've been told these things always go to midnight on June 30," he tells the Post. "We value their work and hope to make an amicable settlement."
The New York Post  |  06-26-2008  9:36 am  |  Industry News

VVM to Sell Cleveland Scene to Times-Shamrock

Village Voice Media announced today it is selling the Cleveland Scene to Times-Shamrock Communications. Terms of the purchase agreement are not being disclosed; the deal is expected to close on June 25. "We more than achieved our journalistic goals in Cleveland," VVM CEO Jim Larkin says of the paper the company bought in 1998. "This is a staff of remarkably talented and hard-working people. Unfortunately, after ten years, we weren't able to achieve our financial objectives." Times-Shamrock also owns AAN members Baltimore City Paper, Metro Times, the Orlando Weekly, and the San Antonio Current. (FULL STORY)
Village Voice Media Press Release  |  06-20-2008  9:24 am  |  Press Releases

Possible Strike Looms at The Village Voicenew

Veteran Voice staff writer Tom Robbins tells the New York Press that the paper's employees may strike if a contract dispute isn't resolved. Talks center on proposed cuts in health care coverage in the latest contract offer from Village Voice Media, which the union considers unacceptable. "Management is asking for givebacks on our health care policy and on our 401(k)," says Robbins, who serves as a shop steward with United Auto Workers Local 2110, which represents Voice staffers. "We are adamant that there won't be any givebacks here." He says the union has had two meetings with management, but vowed that there would be a walkout if no settlement is reached. "If we don't get it, all bets are off," Robbins warns. The Press says a call to a Voice spokesperson for comment has thus far gone unreturned. The strike is set for July 1 if a contract agreement isn't reached, according to Gawker.
New York Press  |  06-17-2008  8:13 am  |  Industry News

SF Weekly Asks Judge to Overturn Verdict in Bay Guardian Casenew

The motions, which were filed earlier this week, ask Superior Court Judge Marla J. Miller to order a new trial if she won't reverse the verdict in the predatory-pricing case, the Weekly reports. The thrust of the Weekly's motion: That the Guardian didn't offer "any actual evidence of an illegal below-cost pricing conspiracy," that the verdict "violates the Weekly's First Amendment and due process rights," and lastly that "the trial was riddled with legal error that unfairly shifted the burden of proof onto the defense." If the judge denies the new motions, the Weekly says it and Village Voice Media intend "to take the case to the California Court of Appeals, which in turn would trigger a process expected to take up to eighteen months."
SF Weekly  |  06-12-2008  2:31 pm  |  Industry News

SF Weekly Asks for Stay of Judgment in Bay Guardian Casenew

Weekly attorney Rod Kerr last week argued for a stay of the predatory-pricing trial's $15.6 million judgment until 10 days after Judge Marla Miller rules on post-trial motions, which could have delayed the enforcement until July 28, the Guardian reports. Kerr said that the current economic turmoil combined with the company's belief that the judgment amount would be substantially lowered during post-trial rulings made it hard for Village Voice Media to secure a bond for the full amount. The judge granted a stay, but only until June 18. She also said she'd allow "the defendants to return to court to ask for more time if they can provide evidence showing how it will result in a bond being issued," according to the Guardian. When reached by AAN News, a representative from VVM said the company had no comment on last week's development. Both sides will appear in court July 8 for post-trial motions, including one by VVM to throw out the verdict and order a new trial.
San Francisco Bay Guardian  |  06-11-2008  8:29 am  |  Industry News

Judge Raises Damages and Issues Injunction Against SF Weeklynew

As expected, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller on Monday raised the amount the Weekly must pay in damages to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, from $6.3 million to $15.9 million. Miller also issued a 10-year injunction, barring the Weekly from selling display ads below cost, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the lawsuit, the Guardian accused the Weekly and its parent company Village Voice Media of selling ads below cost with the intent of harming the Guardian. A jury ruled in favor of the Guardian in March. SF Weekly still plans to appeal. Read more on the latest ruling from the Weekly and the Guardian.
San Francisco Chronicle  |  05-21-2008  8:58 am  |  Industry News