Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SF papers show split in alt-weekly industry

E&P's Mark Fitzgerald says there's a split in the alt-weekly community nationally, and San Francisco's two alt-weeklies are emblematic of that divide. On one side, you have the Old Guard represented by Bruce Brugmann's (left) Bay Guardian, defined by Fitzgerald as "loud, aggressive, left-leaning -- and a scourge of the hometown dailies." On the other extreme there's the Village Voice Media chain, owner of the SF Weekly. Its executive editor, Michael Lacey (right) tells his journalists to keep their opinions to themselves and write local news. "Our readers already have opinions -- they don't need someone who is posing as the sophomore in the dorm room philosophizing on what it means," Lacey tells E&P. "Our guy isn't going to sit there and gas on about something. He's going to dig something up." The article also notes:
    At the same time alt-papers are engaging in this soul-searching, they're confronting generational turnover and an audience that doesn't necessarily share Boomer preoccupations, notes Abe Peck, an underground newspaper pioneer in Chicago now teaching at Northwestern University: "You get readers who are less committed to reviews of Persian films, or learning about the war, or a 6,000-word expose of landlords -- they want to know where to go on a Friday night."
(Photo credits: Brugmann, CNPA; Lacey, NYT)

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