Two Newspapers Voted into AAN

june 30, 2009  03:19 pm
At the annual meeting of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies this weekend in Tucson, AAN members approved the membership applications of two alt-weeklies and affirmed the membership of six current member papers that had changed hands in the last two years.

The two new inductees -- Inland Empire Weekly of Corona, Calif., and Edmonton's See Magazine -- are affiliated with newspaper chains that already include members of the association. The Weekly is owned by Southland Publishing, which also owns AAN members Pasadena Weekly, San Diego CityBeat and the Ventura County Reporter. See is owned by Great West Newspapers, which also counts Fast Forward Weekly in Calgary among its properties.

Both papers prove that persistence can be a vital attribute in the admissions process. This year's application was See Magazine's third consecutive and Inland Empire Weekly's second.

Prior to the vote, two current AAN members urged other members attending the meeting to reject See's application, citing its ownership. Great West is a large Canadian newspaper chain, and NOW Magazine's Michael Hollett and Vue Weekly's Ron Garth both argued that such an organization doesn't belong in AAN. See publisher Todd Kosloski urged voters to focus instead on the quality of the publication and noted that another Great West property, Fast Forward Weekly, was accepted as a member last year.

Three other newspapers that applied for membership this year were rejected. Anchorage Press, Omaha City Weekly and Volume One of Eau Claire, Wisc., fell short of the number of votes necessary for admission after they each failed to get the nod of the Membership Committee.

In addition, the membership status of six papers that were reviewed due to ownership changes was affirmed unanimously by voice vote. The Chicago Reader, LEO Weekly, New York Press, the Scene (Cleveland), Washington City Paper and the Valley Advocate were all recommended by the Membership Committee.

Baltimore City Paper's Erin Sullivan also announced at the meeting that the Membership Committee, which she chairs, has recommended that AAN explore the potential of expanding its membership to include online-only publications. The committee also encouraged AAN to seek to expand the pool of international applicants.

The AAN Board of Directors will review the committee's recommendations over the next 12 months. If it agrees with the recommendations, the changes will be translated into a bylaws amendment that would be introduced at next year's annual meeting.