AAN News

Creative Loafing Bankruptcy Hearing Delayednew

The hearing scheduled yesterday was set to decide whether CL's creditors can declare their loans in default and take immediate possession of the company from CEO Ben Eason. According to Wayne Garcia, the hearing has been continued until March 11. Garcia says both sides in the case complained about the delay but worked together to develop a new timeline.
Creative Loafing (Tampa)  |  01-22-2009  8:41 am  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper Capitalizes on Inauguration Fever

Washington's only alt-weekly is putting on a full-court press as the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama draws closer. The City Paper released a 120-page special inauguration issue this week that also featured "The Obama Reader," a 16-page insert from sister paper the Chicago Reader, which has been covering Obama since 1995. (The insert was also published in the Windy City.) Publisher Amy Austin says City Paper will be doing extensive online reporting over the next several days on its inauguration aggregation page. AAN members who want a web icon to link to the ongoing inaugural coverage should email Austin at aaustin (at) washingtoncitypaper.com. (FULL STORY)
AAN News  |  01-16-2009  12:08 pm  |  Industry News

More Papers Tighten Belts

Louisiana's Independent Weekly reports that in 2008 it had to lay off one employee and that it recently instituted "a single digit, company-wide salary cut." The Nashville Scene says it is eliminating its books section, as well as News of the Weird and the New York Times crossword. Boise Weekly's publisher says that even though the "last quarter of 2008 was very disappointing ... it might have been the best we will see for awhile." Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader says goodbye to two of its departing editorial staffers, and Nat Hentoff talks to the New York Times about his plans post-Voice.
AAN News  |  01-09-2009  10:30 am  |  Industry News

Layoffs Hit the Chicago Reader and Creative Loafing (Tampa)new

As the Creative Loafing bankruptcy case winds its way through the courts, Michael Miner reports that the Reader laid off more staffers last week. "Six more layoffs last Thursday reduced this paper's editorial staff to 17," Miner writes. "It was 38 when the old owners sold [Ben] Eason the paper." Creative Loafing (Tampa) also announced a handful of layoffs last week. MORE ON CL: Former Creative Loafing (Atlanta) editor Cliff Bostock offers his take on the problems at the Loaf.
Chicago Reader | Creative Loafing (Tampa)  |  12-23-2008  8:49 am  |  Industry News

More on Huffington Post Concert Preview Dustupnew

HuffPo co-founder Jonah Peretti says the anger directed at the site for lifting entire concert previews from the Chicago Reader and other publications is misplaced. He tells Wired that the complete re-printing was a mistaken editorial call and that the site's intent is to send traffic to other publications when it aggregates content. MORE: Plenty of bloggers jumped on the HuffPo/Reader flap over the weekend. Here are two interesting takes, one from a search engine optimization perspective and another from fair use perspective.
Wired  |  12-22-2008  12:54 pm  |  Industry News

Huffington Post Poaches Concert Previews from Other Sitesnew

HuffPo's Chicago site "straight stole our entire Bon Iver Critic's Choice," reports the Reader's Whet Moser. "They didn't ask permission." He notes that the "read the whole story here" link at the bottom of HuffPo's page is pointless: "(T)hat is the whole article, dumbass." This aggregation-gone-wild led Moser to check the other concert previews on the Chicago site, and he reports that "there's a whole list of concert previews from us, Time Out Chicago, Centerstage, and the Onion's Decider," reprinted in full. MORE: Gambit Weekly's Kevin Allman, the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Steven T. Jones, and Gawker's Ryan Tate weigh in.
Chicago Reader  |  12-19-2008  12:03 pm  |  Industry News

Creative Loafing Creditor Objects to Hiring of Financial Advisornew

Atalaya Capital Management, which lent CL's Ben Eason $30 million to buy the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper, has filed a motion (pdf file) asking that Eason not be allowed to hire the investment banking firm Skyway Capital Partners to help him emerge from bankruptcy. The main thrusts of Atalaya's argument are that Skyway is not a disinterested party, that Skyway's role will extend beyond mere financial advising into possibly brokering a sale of CL, and that Skyway is not a competent financial advisor. More from the Reader's Michael Miner.
Atlanta Magazine  |  11-24-2008  9:57 am  |  Industry News

Two New Motions Filed in Creative Loafing Bankruptcy Casenew

Last week, Creative Loafing asked a bankruptcy judge to authorize CEO Ben Eason to hire the investment banking firm that brokered the Reader/City Paper purchase to evaluate the company's business plan, seek new financing, and prepare the company to be sold if necessary, Atlanta Magazine's Steve Fennessy reports. Meanwhile, Eason's largest creditor, Atalaya Capital Management, asked the judge to lift the automatic stay that prevented CL from defaulting on its loan, arguing that the value of the company is falling with each passing day due to the bankruptcy filing and to "downward trends in the advertising industry." Eason tells Fennessy he stands by his decision to expand. "I think it's one of the smartest things we've done," he says. "I'd rather be navigating [the economic downturn] with Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader and [syndicated column] Straight Dope than without them." MORE: The Reader's Michael Miner weighs in, and City Paper consolidates its office into one floor.
Atlanta Magazine  |  11-17-2008  12:11 pm  |  Industry News

Another Alt-Weekly Election Cover Draws Some Flaknew

Looks like the Chicago Reader isn't alone in running a post-election cover that ruffled some feathers. The Boise Weekly's cover illustration by Alejandro Lempkin, which includes the phrase "Barack Oboner," apparently upset a few readers. "I don't think many of those who I heard from understood that 'Barack Oboner' was not meant to demean the president-elect so much as it was meant to poke fun at people just like me," writes editor Rachael Daigle. "That is, people who live in a certain area of town -- the same area in which I live -- where Barack Obama was heavily supported, a part of town that -- crudely speaking -- had a boner for Barack." MORE: Chicago's CBS affiliate reports on the Reader dustup.
Boise Weekly  |  11-10-2008  9:20 am  |  Industry News  |  Comments (1)

Chicago Reader's Obama Cover Ruffles Some Feathersnew

The Reader's cover this week features an illustration of Barack Obama with the text "Don't Screw This Up." Editor Alison True writes the paper has heard from several callers who told her the paper was "assuming he'll screw up because he's black." True insists this isn't the case, and reiterates a crucial point: "No matter how jubilant some of us may feel about his election, the media's role isn't to cheerlead for elected officials," she writes. "We were addressing Obama as the person -- not the black person -- whom we've handed an important new job and letting him know that even though we put him there, we'll be watching." The Reader had a companion cover ready to go if McCain won with the text "Please Don't Die." To see these and more post-election alt-weekly covers, check out AAN's Flickr page. We've also assembled some pre-election covers. If your paper published an election-themed cover that isn't there, email it to Jon Whiten at jwhiten (at) aan.org.
Chicago Reader  |  11-06-2008  4:23 pm  |  Industry News

J-School Grads Still Want to Break into Alt-Weekly Worldnew

Reacting to former Chicago Reader staffer Edward McClelland's piece in Columbia Journalism Review arguing that alt-weeklies were no longer hip, Washington City Paper assistant managing editor Jule Banville shares an anectdote from a J-school job fair last year. "The kids lined up to talk to me. A staff writer from the Philadelphia City Paper also had trouble coming up for air," she says. "For these grads -- still -- alt-weeklies were where it was at ... they didn't want to have to slug it out at a podunk daily churning out cop briefs and obits. Yet, they were beaten down enough to know they're nowhere near ready for a magazine job."
Washington City Paper  |  10-31-2008  9:24 am  |  Industry News

Former Staffer Asks: Is There Still a Place for the Chicago Reader?new

Edward McClelland measures his former paper's hip quotient, using the fictional Reader music critic who appeared in the 2000 film High Fidelity as a yardstick. "Today, if you made a movie about Chicago hipsters, Caroline Fortis probably wouldn't write for the Reader," McClelland writes in Columbia Journalism Review. "She'd write for Time Out Chicago, or Pitchfork." Reader editor Alison True, Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason, and former Reader staff writers Neal Pollack and Harold Henderson weigh in with their takes on the Reader's past and its future.
Columbia Journalism Review  |  10-28-2008  1:06 pm  |  Industry News

More on the Chicago Reader, John Conroy, and Police Torturenew

"No one here told John Conroy to lay off police torture," is the headline to Michael Miner's blog post written in response to last week's Chicago Sun-Times column on Conroy's work on police torture at the Reader and a related piece from the Beachwood Reporter, an online newspaper. Editor Alison True strikes the same chord in a separate blog post, saying that "I encouraged John to explore other subjects," but "never asked him to lay off police torture."
Chicago Reader  |  10-27-2008  10:37 am  |  Industry News

Ex-Chicago Reader Reporter Thanked for His Focus on Police Torturenew

When former Chicago Police Commander and alleged torturer Jon Burge was arrested this week for perjury and obstruction of justice, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown knew exactly where to point some kudos. "[John] Conroy was probably as responsible as anyone for keeping the police torture issue in Chicago's consciousness," Brown writes. Conroy's 1990 story in the Reader marked the first time the allegations of police torture came to light, and after that, Conroy kept writing about the issue until he left the paper last year. "His editor suggested he move on to the next subject, and he tried," Brown writes. "After all, he told himself, he wasn't having much impact. But he kept coming back."
The Chicago Sun-Times  |  10-23-2008  12:25 pm  |  Industry News

Court Filings Shed Light on Creative Loafing's Financesnew

According to a case management summary (pdf) filed in Creative Loafing's bankruptcy proceedings on Monday, revenues are off at the six-paper alt-weekly chain. Atlanta Magazine's Steve Fennessy reports that when CL was looking for financing to purchase the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper, it projected the expanded company would see revenues of $43 million in fiscal year 2008. But the court filing says that revenue in FY08, ending June 30, 2008, was $35 million, and predicts that sales in the first quarter of FY09 will be only $3.5 million. In other CL bankruptcy news, Washington City Paper has published a statement from one of the company's lenders, Atalaya, which says the bankruptcy filing was "unfortunate and unnecessary," and assures "all interested parties that Atalaya has no intention of attempting to shut down the business." MORE: City Paper editor Erik Wemple talks to the George Washington University student paper The Hatchet about the changes in store as the paper shifts focus.
Atlanta Magazine | Washington City Paper  |  10-16-2008  11:43 am  |  Industry News