Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Alternative Weaklies
Michael Ryan comments on the sad state of "alternative" journalism today, contending that the once underground, true alternatives to mainstream daily and weekly newspapers are now merely vehicles for advertising and entertainment listings. Hinging his remarks on the recent antitrust case against Village Voice Media and New Times Media, the two largest alt-weekly publishers, Ryan suggests that it is consolidation and corporatization that's ailing the alt-weeklies.

I would agree. While there are economies of scale for companies like Village Voice and New Times, following a cookie-cutter approach to alternatives loses the very local look and feel -- reportage and attitude -- that make alt-weeklies viable alternatives. Ryan reminisces about the old days of the Real Paper before it was purchased by the Boston Phoenix, which has grown into an "alternative" corporate media presence in its own right. I'd much rather see a proliferation of occasionally flawed papers such as the Weekly Dig than continuing centralization of what's deemed alternative media.

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