Bad news, good news

New York alt-weekly will stop print edition, as the CN&R heads into its fifth decade

About the time I sat down to write this column, I learned that New York’s Village Voice, a multiple Pulitzer winner and granddaddy of alternative weeklies, was shutting down print operations and going online-only. That publication has been around far longer than this one, so it was a jolt. This follows the actual demise of a few other big weeklies over the past couple of years—this year, Baltimore’s City Paper; the Bay Guardian of San Francisco a few years before that.

The news was a bit of a comedown from working on an anniversary issue about the history of the CN&R and its influence in the community. Much of the story is told through the former editors, writers and others who established the paper and the folks who came to its rescue a few years after it first hit the stands 40 years ago this week. I admire them all.

As you’ll see, it’s an extra-large spread. To accommodate for the project, we dropped our weekly features sections, Healthlines and Greenways. Even still, it’s but a snapshot of this newspaper’s story. There’s easily enough material to fill a book.

I hope you enjoy learning about the history as much as I did.

I’ve been with the CN&R since 2007, so I was here to close out one decade. As for the story of the current one, well, it’s a work in progress. Fortunately, the paper is positioned well, despite some instability among the nation’s weekly papers. Circulation is up modestly—a pretty big win in the industry. I’m looking forward to helping shape our story in the years to come.

Working at this independent paper has been the highlight of my 15-year journalism career in this community. I don’t take for granted being part of a team that tells stories that would otherwise go untold. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside a dedicated and passionate crew—from the delivery drivers and editorial staffers to the designers and sales professionals.

Being a part of the CN&R family has also been a heckuva lot of fun.

Shout out: When I look back at my decade at this paper, and all of the terrific colleagues who have come and gone, former Office Manager Jane Corbett is at the top of my list. Our spunky, red-headed co-worker and friend wore many hats. Perhaps one of her favorite tasks was keeping morale buoyed by organizing staff activities, including lunches and our beloved “beer Fridays.” Jane retired in 2012 after 26 years with the paper and has since moved out of town. Obviously, she’s much missed.

Prize giveaways! I hope I have your attention. Free stuff usually does the trick. This is your last reminder about our 40th anniversary block party celebration this Saturday, Aug. 26, from noon to 4 p.m. There, outside the back entrance to our office at Second and Flume streets, we’ll have raffle prizes—gift baskets and a massage package, among other things. There also will be a beer garden, live music and food trucks. Come check it out.

One last thing: This week marks the return of Eye on 45, penned this time around by CN&R’s Howard Hardee. That biweekly feature watchdogging Trump, which I’d written for the first six months of his administration, will now be a monthly offering. It’s not because we don’t have the material, mind you. It’s because I need to remain sane.