Mark Jurkowitz, whom I replaced as the Boston Phoenix’s media columnist in 1994 — and who, in turn, replaced me when I left the Phoenix earlier this year — explains why he thought the Phoenix was a better outlet for his work than the Boston Globe. An excerpt:
JURKOWITZ: Everybody’s got a theory about how to fix the slumping newspaper business, which has the feel of a dying Rust Belt industry these days. First and foremost, print journalism has to remain reliable. But I believe it also needs to evolve to provide readers with more attititude and personality, a little more spit and vinegar and a little less perfunctory “he said, she said.” In the end, I figured that much of good media writing, like good sports writing, is about argument — starting arguments, making arguments, and occasionally even ending arguments. The alternative press is simply more conducive to arguing.
Among other things, Jurkowitz’s take on the importance of the alternative press is why you should be worried about this week’s news that the Phoenix-based New Times chain plans to merge with the Village Voice and its assorted weeklies. Tim Redmond of the San Francisco Bay Chronicle has a good analysis explaining why this merger should not pass antitrust muster.
The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies is tracking coverage of this disturbing, long-predicted development.