Alternative newspaper

Alternative newspaper

An alternative newspaper is a type of newspaper that eschews comprehensive coverage of general news in favor of opinionated reviews and columns, investigations into edgy topics and magazine-style feature stories highlighting local people and culture. Their news coverage is more local-centric and their target audiences younger than those of larger daily papers. Typically, alternative newspapers are published in tabloid format and printed on newsprint. Other names for such publications include alternative weekly, alternative newsweekly, and alt weekly, as the vast majority circulate on a weekly schedule.

Most metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada are home to at least one alternative paper. These papers are generally found in such urban areas, although a few publish in smaller cities, in rural areas or exurban areas.


Alternative papers usually operate under a different business model than daily papers.Fact|date=June 2007 Most alternative papers, such as the Houston Press, the Los Angeles Free Press, the Village Voice, the New York Press, and the Long Island Press are free, earning revenue through the sale of advertising space. They also often include ads for adult entertainment, such as adult bookstores and strip clubs, which are prohibited in many mainstream daily newspapers.Fact|date=June 2007 They usually include comprehensive classified and personal ad sections and event listings as well.Fact|date=June 2007

Many alternative papers feature an annual "best of" issue, profiling businesses that readers voted the best of their type in the area. Often these papers send out certificates that the businesses hang on their wall or window. This further cements the paper's ties to local businesses.

Alternative newspapers represent the more commercialized and mainstream evolution of the underground press associated with the 1960s counterculture. Their focus remains on arts and entertainment and social and political reportage. Editorial positions at alternative weeklies are predominantly left-leaning, though there is a small contingent of strongly conservative and/or libertarian alt-weeklies. Their styles vary sharply; some affect a satirical, ironic tone, while others embrace a more straightforward approach to reporting.

Columns commonly syndicated to alternative weeklies include "The Straight Dope," Dan Savage's "Savage Love," Rob Breszny's "Free Will Astrology," and Ben Tausig's crossword puzzle "Ink Well." Quirky, non-mainstream comics, such as Matt Groening's "Life in Hell", Lynda Barry's "Ernie Pook's Comeek," Ruben Bolling's "Tom the Dancing Bug", and Ted Rall's political cartoons are also common.

The "Village Voice", based in New York City, is one of the first and best-known examples of the form.

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies is the alternative weeklies' trade association. The Alternative Weekly Network and the Ruxton Group are national advertising sales representatives for alternative weeklies.

Chains and mergers

Some alternative newpapers are independent. However, due in part to increasing concentration of media ownership, many have been bought or launched by larger media conglomerates. The Tribune Company, a multi-billion dollar company that owns the Chicago Cubs and "Chicago Tribune" owns four New England alternative weeklies, including the "Hartford Advocate" and "New Haven Advocate."

"Creative Loafing," originally only an Atlanta-based alternative weekly, grew into Creative Loafing, Inc. which owns papers in three other southern U.S. cities, as well as the "Chicago Reader" and "Washington City Paper". Similarly, Detroit's "Metro Times" branched-out to include papers in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

Village Voice Media and New Times Media merged in 2006; before that, they were the two largest chains.

The pre-merger Village Voice Media, an outgrowth of New York City’s "Village Voice," included "LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Minneapolis City Pages", and "Nashville Scene".

New Times Media included at the time of the merger "Cleveland Scene, Dallas Observer, Westword, East Bay Express, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Houston Press, The Pitch, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, SF Weekly", and "Riverfront Times."

In 2003, the two companies entered into a non-competition agreement which stated that the two would not publish in the same market. Because of this, New Times Media eliminated "New Times LA," a competitor to Village Voice Media's "LA Weekly," and Village Voice Media ceased publishing "Cleveland Free Times," a competitor to New Times Media's "Cleveland Scene". The US Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into the agreement. [] The case was settled out of court with the two companies agreeing to make available the publishing assets and titles of their defunct papers to potential competitors. The "Cleveland Free Times" recommenced publication in 2003 under the publication group Kildysart LLC.

On October 24, 2005, New Times Media announced a deal to acquire Village Voice Media, creating a chain of 17 free weekly newspapers around the country with a combined circulation of 1.8 million and controlling a quarter of the weekly circulation of alternative weekly newspapers in North America [] . The deal was approved by the Justice Department and, on January 31, 2006, the companies merged into one, taking the name Village Voice Media. []

Many editors and reporters of alternative papers and many longtime readers of "Village Voice" felt that the merger was against the spirit of alt weeklies and accused the Village Voice Media of selling out. Others bemoan the effects such a large chain may have on the independent spirit of alt weeklies.

Nonetheless, a number of owner-operated, non-chain owned alternative papers survive, among them "Metro Silicon Valley" in San Jose, California, "Salt Lake City Weekly", the "San Francisco Bay Guardian", the "San Diego Reader", "Isthmus" in Madison, Wisconsin, "The Second Supper" in La Crosse, Wisconsin, "Willamette Week" in Portland, Oregon, "Independent Weekly" in North Carolina's Triangle region, "YES! Weekly" in North Carolina's Triad region, the "Austin Chronicle" in Texas, "Artvoice" in Buffalo, New York, the "Aquarian Weekly" in North Jersey and "Knoxville Voice" in Knoxville, Tennessee.

See also

*List of alternative weekly newspapers

External links

* [ Association of Alternative Newsweeklies]
* []
* [ Alternative Weekly Network]
* [ NewPages Guide to Alternative Newsweeklies]
* [ Ruxton Media Group: Alternative Press]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • alternative — I. adjective Date: 1540 1. alternate 1 2. offering or expressing a choice < several alternative plans > 3. different from the usual or conventional: as a. existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system < an… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • alternative — alternatively, adv. alternativeness, alternativity, n. /awl terr neuh tiv, al /, n. 1. a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility …   Universalium

  • alternative — al•ter•na•tive [[t]ɔlˈtɜr nə tɪv, æl [/t]] n. 1) a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities: the alternative of riding or walking[/ex] 2) one of these choices: The alternative to riding is walking[/ex] 3) a possible or remaining choice …   From formal English to slang

  • Alternative theories of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 — suggest that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, a Libyan agent who was convicted on 270 counts of murder for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, may actually be innocent. At the end of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial an international observer… …   Wikipedia

  • Alternative Armies — is a miniature gaming and modeling company located in Scotland. It produces a range of different games and model ranges [Alternative Armies web page [] ] [ [] ] …   Wikipedia

  • Alternative education — Alternative education, also known as non traditional education or educational alternative, includes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than mainstream or traditional education. Educational alternatives are often rooted in… …   Wikipedia

  • Alternative press (U.S. political left) — Under the broad heading of the alternative press are several subcategories including periodicals published by groups, movements, or individuals affiliated with the U.S. political left. As the word press implies, these are printed publications, as …   Wikipedia

  • Newspaper endorsements in the United States presidential election, 2008 — During the 2008 United States presidential election, newspapers, magazines, and other publications made general election endorsements. As of November 4, 2008, Barack Obama had received more than twice as many publication endorsements as John… …   Wikipedia

  • newspaper — newspaperdom, n. newspaperish, adj. /noohz pay peuhr, nyoohz , noohs , nyoohs /, n. 1. a publication issued at regular and usually close intervals, esp. daily or weekly, and commonly containing news, comment, features, and advertising. 2. a… …   Universalium

  • Alternative versions of Batman — Alternate versions of Batman Publisher DC Comics First appearance Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger …   Wikipedia