Tuesday, September 09, 2003

alternative to what?

Matt Welch (via the Columbia Journalism Review) casts his keen eye on the recent Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) convention in SF and finds the current batch of Alternative Weeklies somewhat lacking.

All the newspapers looked the same — same format, same fonts, same columns complaining about the local daily, same sex advice, same five-thousand-word hole for the cover story. The people were largely the same, too: all but maybe 2 percent of the city-slicker journalists in attendance were white; the vast majority were either Boomer hippies or Gen X slackers. Several asked me the exact same question with the same suspicious looks on their faces: "So . . . what's your alternative experience?"
Hello, Cleveland! If that's isn't hitting both targets (Free Times / Scene) with one missive...

While all the points contained in the piece won't be news to most bloggers, it is a strong overview of who is out there and what buttons they're pushing with Journalists (with a big J).

Richard Karpel (AAN Executive Director) responds:
Too bad he didn't read the papers instead of just looking at them. Because the notion that alternative newspapers are all "the same" is an absurdity that could only be uttered by someone who hasn't read any of them. Does anyone who has spent fifteen minutes with, for instance, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Chicago Reader, have any doubt that one is from Mars and other is from Venus? Is there a New Yorker aware of The Village Voice and New York Press who doesn't know they are vastly different in both substance and style? Are there residents of Seattle who can't tell the difference between Seattle Weekly and the Stranger? Or Cleveland Free Times and Cleveland Scene? Or, or,or .... (emphasis added)
Obviously he's never looked at the two side by side -- without looking the cover (especially if they're flipped over so the back page is showing) you'd be hard pressed to differentiate between them.

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