Carly Carioli named editor of the Boston Phoenix

A little more than a month after a shake-up on the business side, the Phoenix Media/Communications Group (PM/CG) has announced some major changes in the newsroom. The most significant: Carly Carioli is the new editor of the Boston Phoenix, replacing Lance Gould. Carioli had been editor of thephoenix.com, which will now be integrated with the rest of the company’s media properties.

Carly tells me he’ll be running the three Phoenix newspapers (Boston, Providence and Portland) and the biweekly glossy magazine Stuff, and will have some responsibilities at WFNX Radio (101.7 FM) as well. He’ll work alongside Peter Kadzis, who moved up from editor of the Phoenix to executive editor of PM/CG in 2006.

Most readers of Media Nation know that I was on staff at the Phoenix from 1991 to 2005, and that I continue to be a member of the extended Phoenix family. So consider this a personal note. I care about what happens at the Phoenix.

Gould came to the paper after I left, but I have worked with him on several stories during the past few years — including just a few days ago. He’s a good editor and a good guy, and I’m sorry that he’s leaving. Kadzis, in a statement, describes the reason for the change this way:

The changes we are making will not save any money. This is about rethinking and re-engineering how we deliver content to our audience — or, I should say, audiences: we have readers devoted to the printed paper, we have users who use nothing but online, we have our audience of WFNX listeners and we have people we are trying to engage via mobile. Our future sits with fashioning these groups into a coherent audience. Not every editor, or every executive, has the skill to help move this forward.

Carioli, now 37, is a rising star both at the Phoenix and on the Boston media scene, and I’m glad he’s getting a greater opportunity to show what he can do. He’s highly regarded in local music circles, and he knows a lot about news — and journalism — as well. He reminded me today that I was among the first people at the Phoenix to urge him to jump onto the management ladder.

Carly has been a leader in figuring out how to bring print, online and social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare together. He started at the Phoenix as an intern in 1993 and joined the staff in 1994. His first job at the paper was the all-important but thankless task of putting together the listings section. His goal as editor, he says, is to reinvent what an alternative news weekly can be in an era when the very term sounds like an anachronism.

“Alternative is what your dad listened to in college, news is what Jon Stewart talks about and weekly is way too long to wait to get what’s going on out in the world,” he says.

Also announced today is the hiring of a new music editor, Michael Marotta, and a new staff writer, Eugenia Williamson. Their backgrounds are described in the press release below. Also, Ashley Rigazio, the online listings coordinator, becomes events editor for the combined print/online operation.

These days, every newspaper faces financial challenges. A year ago, the New York Times Co. was threatening to shut the Boston Globe. The Phoenix, too, is a lot thinner than it used to be. My conversations with friends at the company, though, leave me convinced that they’re in this for the long haul. And I would never bet against owner and publisher Stephen Mindich, one of the smartest, toughest people in the business.

What follows is a statement from PMCG president Brad Mindich and an e-mail to the troops from Carioli.

BOSTON PHOENIX NAMES NEW EDITOR

Web chief Carly Carioli tapped to helm both online and editorial

Move will maximize alent and resources, says PM/CG Executive Editor Peter Kadzis

PM/CG President Brad Mindich sees Phoenix content flowing across multiple platforms: online, in paper, mobile, and radio

New music editor and staff writer also announced

Carly Carioli, who began work at the Boston Phoenix 17 years ago as a music critic, today was named editor of the award-winning weekly.

For the last four years, Carioli, 37, has been Online Editor, responsible for operations and content of the Boston, Providence, and Portland newspapers, WFNX radio, and Stuff magazine.

During Carioli’s tenure, the Phoenix website, thephoenix.com, was named Best Website by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). In 2009, the New England Press Association awarded the Phoenix its top “convergence” award, for the best storytelling across print and web.

Carioli’s appointment is part of an internal editorial reorganization. Phoenix Online, which had been a free-standing department, is being folded back into the newspaper. As editor of the Boston Phoenix, Carioli will integrate and direct both the online and the editorial staff.

In a first move in that direction, Carioli named Ashley Rigazio, an online listings coordinator, to become Events Editor for the newly combined web and in-paper Arts and Entertainment operation.

Earlier in the day, two new hires were also announced:

Michael Marotta, a music writer from the Boston Herald, will become Phoenix Music Editor, replacing Michael Brodeur, who left the Phoenix for the Boston Globe. And joining the Phoenix as a staff writer will be Eugenia Williamson, a freelance contributor to the Phoenix and the Sunday Globe. Williamson has previously written for Time Out Chicago, Stop Smiling, Venus Zine, and McSweeney’s.

Carioli replaces Lance Gould, who has served as editor of the Boston Phoenix for the last two years.

In his tenure as Online Editor, Carioli oversaw the launch of staff blogs for music, pop culture, film, and politics. He also oversaw the re-launch of thephoenix.com and re-designs of both stuffboston.com and wfnx.com; the launch of thephoenix.tv, the Phoenix’s first online-video venuture, which features exclusive performances by Massachusetts-based musicians from Thurston Moore to Converge; and a podcast that partners with local bookstores, museums, and cultural institutions to record longform readings and talks by the likes of Al Gore, Ozzy Osbourne, Cornel West, and John Irving, to name but a few. For WFNX’s 2009 Best Music Poll and the 2010 SXSW music festival, he oversaw online coverage including live video, mobile blogging, and real-time Twitter updates, as well as traditional reporting that was later re-used in print. He was a panelist at 2010’s South By Southwest Interactive conference on the future of alternative weeklies.

Carioli’s music writing has been anthologized in “The Best Music Writing,” edited by Nick Hornby and published by DeCapo.

Carioli was born and raised in Philadelphia. He studied journalism at Boston University. He is married and has two young daughters.

Of Carioli’s appointment, PM/CG President Brad Mindich said, “Carly will be responsible for unifying our content across platforms: print, online, radio and mobile. This is the future — especially for our forward thinking, educated, and on-the-go audience. It’s critical that our readers, users, and listeners interact with our content in whichever way is best for them.”

PM/CG Executive Editor Peter Kadzis said, “As a music critic, as an editor, and as the architect of the Phoenix’s online growth, Carly has for more than ten years lived his professional life at the intersection of technology and popular culture. For a paper like the Phoenix, that’s the ultimate sweet spot.

“What once were considered challenging circumstances have now become standard operating conditions. But all Phoenix media are heading into the summer on an extremely strong footing. Carly’s appointment together with two new hires is an unmistakable expression of the Mindich family’s commitment to strong journalistic values and the vibrant journalism that results,” said Kadzis .

The Phoenix Media/Communications Group is a private, family-owned business, which began in 1966 as Boston After Dark, a four-page arts-and-entertainment weekly. Today the Boston, Providence, and Portland (Maine) Phoenix newspapers cover a wide range of subjects from politics to the arts to lifestyle.

Below are the contents of an e-mail Carioli wrote and sent to subscribers of thephoenix.com’s various e-mails. It should give you a flavor of what his leadership style will likely be:

From Carly Carioli

Carly Carioli here. As of a few hours ago, I’m the new editor of the Boston Phoenix. Feel free to drop me a line: I’m @carlycarioli on Twitter, or shoot me an e-mail at editor@phx.com.

If you didn’t already know and love the Phoenix, you wouldn’t be getting this e-mail. Whether you signed up for our free sneak-preview movie screenings, or to get the first word on this week’s Phoenix headlines, I want to thank you for supporting local, progressive, independent journalism. I came to the Phoenix over 15 years ago and never left, because I believed — and continue to believe — in what the Phoenix stands for: writing that’s passionate, skeptical, intellectually curious, unconventional, and engaged with its readers.

I’ve been thrilled to write for and edit a newspaper where some of my early heroes got their start: Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Susan Orlean, writers who were by turns innovative, irreverent, and irascible. (Thanks to a new partnership, you’ll soon be able to read all 40-plus years of our back issues — right down to the vintage concert ads — through Google’s News Archive project.)

It’s even more thrilling to be editing today’s Phoenix, because this is our moment: the mainstream media is crumbling, corporate boardrooms are losing their choke-hold on popular culture, and new technologies are empowering all of us to be more creative and to build stronger communities. This isn’t the apocalypse; this is the promised land. Our readers have always been early-adopters and forward-thinkers. Unlike other media companies, we don’t think our readers are competing with us. We think you’re one of us. And we’re excited about what we can create together.

If you haven’t checked in with us lately, I urge you to take another look — and to tell us what you like as well as what you don’t. I think you’ll find a voice that rings true. It’s David Bernstein’s nationally recognized political coverage (not to mention his must-read Twitter feed) and Chris Faraone’s gutsy, street-smart reporting. In a city that has pillaged its arts coverage, we’ve got Peter Keough, Boston’s toughest film critic, and Jon Garelick’s award-winning jazz writing. There’s also former Something Awful columnist David Thorpe’s brilliant skewering of the music industry, erstwhile Rolling Stone correspondent Matt Taibbi’s sports-crime blotter, and Maddy Myers’s flame-war-inducing feminist video-gaming critiques. And stay tuned: we’ve got some fantastic new talent coming on board.

We know you’re busy, so for those of you who spend all day on Facebook and Twitter, follow or friend us to stay in touch. See you on the internets.

Best,
Carly

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6 thoughts on “Carly Carioli named editor of the Boston Phoenix

  1. Albert Timberlea

    “. . . for those of you who spend all day on Facebook and Twitter”?

    Good luck, Phoenix.

  2. “I’ve been thrilled to write for and edit a newspaper where some of my early heroes got their start: Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Susan Orlean, writers who were by turns innovative, irreverent, and irascible.” — Carly Carioli (according to Dan Kennedy’s site)

    Well, this comes as news to me. Granted my tenure as the executive editor of this illustrious news weekly goes back to the stone age (1968-1971) before computers changed everything, but in checking around with some of my old colleagues, I think I smell an error in your new editor’s quote above. When did Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau or Greil Marcus ever work or write so much as an inch for The Phoenix or even its predecessor, Boston After Dark? I’ll grant you Susan Orlean, but give me a break. He could have mentioned any of the following:

    Joe Klein, Rory O’Connor, Paul Solman, Teddy Gross, Janet Maslin, Jon Landau, Ken Emerson, Sid Blumenthal, David Ansen, Lloyd Schwartz, Lisa Schwarzbaum or Timothy Crouse, just for openers.

    Yours truly,
    Arnie Reisman

  3. Hi Arnie-

    Sorry to meet you in the comments field. Hopefully we’ll meet soon in a place with a better bar.

    In my email to readers, I named only a few authors — specifically the ones who were inspiring to me when I was a young reviewer for the Phoenix back in the early ’90s. If the topic is Famous Phoenix Writers, I could’ve mentioned many more, and I’m awfully glad you did. Klein, Maslin, Landau, and Emerson (didn’t know he was in the stacks until I read his incredible book on Stephen Foster) are all on my short list. As is Lloyd, who has been a dear colleague for more than 15 years. I also didn’t mention any of the amazing writers I’ve had the privelege to work alongside, including Jason Gay, Gareth Cook, Michael Crowley, James Parker, Ellen Barry, and the late Carolyn Knapp, for starters.

    An aside: anyone who wants to quickly sample a very small sample some of the pre-internet Boston Phoenix greats can go to http://thephoenix.com/40 – compiled for the paper’s 40th anniversary – to see pieces by the likes of David Denby, George Kimball, Owen Glieberman, and many others we haven’t mentioned yet. Look in the right-hand column.

    Also at that link, you’ll be able to see a piece from the April 26, 1977 issue of the Boston Phoenix, written by Greil Marcus, about Brian Wilson.

    Susan Orlean’s work can be found at the following url, which is a link to a search for her Boston Phoenix articles in Google’s News Archive: http://bit.ly/PHX_Orlean

    I have in front of me — not online yet — three Boston Phoenix pieces by Robert Christgau in which he writes about the legendary “Live at the Rat” album, David Littlejohn’s book “The Man Who Killed Mick Jagger,” and an unfortunately headlined but fantastically written essay called “The Last Word on Punk” (April 1978).

    I found a couple pieces by Bangs many years ago while pouring over bound volumes and the 3×5 cards that still form our most reliable index of the 1970s and 1980s. As I recall they were relatively unremarkable reviews (but still!) And it’s entirely possible — as Clif Garboden cautions me, although he forgot about Christgau, too — that I found them in a volume of the Real Paper as opposed to the Phoenix. (Other things I learned from the morgue: there was briefly a Miami Phoenix that ran cover stories on UFOs and new-age healing.) I’m not ready to cede the Bangs pieces quite yet, but it’ll take me longer to hunt them down. Until then, I hope you’ll let me make it up to you by handing over some photocopies of this stuff (it’s really great!) and allowing me the privelege of buying you a beer and pestering you for war stories.

    Best,
    -Carly

  4. Seems to me both Phoenix editors might need some editorial assistance… Arnie, writing in response to Carly’s reference to the weekly as a place “some of my early heroes got their start: Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus,” erred in saying that said luminaries never wrote “so much as an inch for The Phoenix.” But Carly also errs in claiming they “got their start” there. Bangs MAY have written for the Phoenix, but if he did, it was long after he “got his start” in magazines like Creem; Christgau obviously had written for the Village Voice and many other publications for years before the April 1978 date Carly mentions; likewise Marcus, who apparently wrote a piece for the Phoenix the previous year, was obviously already well-established by then.

    I think Arnie’s overall point is well-taken — by no means did any of those cited by Carly — except Susan Orlean, of course — get their start at the Phoenix, as much as they may have inspired its current editor. And as both Arnie and Carly note, there are certainly lots of other top talents who DID get their start at the Phoenix, who might have been cited as well, or indeed instead.

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