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April 03 2013


Press Publish 10: Tiffany Shackelford on the future of alt weeklies after the Boston Phoenix

tiffany-shackelfordIt’s Episode 10 of Press Publish, the Nieman Lab podcast! My guest this week is Tiffany Shackelford, executive director of Association of Alternative Newsmedia, until recently known as the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. They’re the trade group for alt weeklies in the U.S. — your Village Voices, your Chicago Readers, your Seattle Weeklies — and until recently, the Boston Phoenix.

The legendary Boston alt weekly surprised the publishing world last month when it announced it was closing after 47 years. That led to a new round of concerns about the future of alt weeklies, which have seen a lot of the same revenue declines that dailies have over the past decade. And when daily newspapers were strong, it was easy to know who the alt weeklies were an alternative to; now there’s no shortage of alternatives to the alternative.

press-publish-logoTiffany believes that alts still have a solid future ahead of them, particularly in markets smaller than Boston. We talked about how their revenue mix is shifting, how some alts are changing their publication cycle and becoming more heavily digital, and who are the model players that other publishers should be watching. If you’re interested in the future of some of America’s most prominent newspaper brands, give our conversation a listen.


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Show notes

Tiffany’s LinkedIn profile
Association of Alternative Newsmedia
2012: “Alt weeklies eye an AP of their own with a content exchange”
The Boston Phoenix, R.I.P.
Phoenix publisher Stephen Mindich’s goodbye
The Independent in Lafayette, Louisiana
Long Island Press
American Independent News Network
Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
Barbara Mandrell, “I Was Country (When Country Wasn’t Cool)”
Capitolbeat, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors
Ernie Smith, “Alt-weeklies may struggle but don’t count them out”
Rachael Daigle, “Alt-Weeklies Are Dead; Long Live Alt-Weeklies”
Dan Kennedy, “The Boston Phoenix comes to the end of the road”
“The Boston Phoenix closing is another sign that glossing up print doesn’t work miracles”
Dan Kennedy, “How the Boston Phoenix Kept Its Readers But Lost Its Advertisers”
Allyson Bird, “Why I left news”
Job listings at AltWeeklies.com
Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Blog
Walter Hussman’s pro-paywall position
OC Weekly
Willamette Week
WW’s Candidates Gone Wild
The Media Consortium
Seven Days
Creative Loafing’s neighborhoods project with the Home Depot Foundation
The Reader of Omaha
East Bay Express
Charleston City Paper
Voice Media Group
The Stranger of Seattle
The Other Paper in Columbus closing
The Times of Acadiana (owned by Gannett)
New Haven Advocate
Boise Weekly
Chicago Reader
Now in Toronto
Gambit in New Orleans
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