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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

Press Publish 10: Tiffany Shackelford on the future of alt weeklies after the Boston Phoenix

They face many of the same financial challenges as their daily peers — how many alt weeklies can navigate a path to sustainability?

tiffany-shackelfordIt’s Episode 10 of Press Publish, the Nieman Lab podcast! My guest this week is Tiffany Shackelford, executive director of Association of Alternative Newsmedia, until recently known as the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. They’re the trade group for alt weeklies in the U.S. — your Village Voices, your Chicago Readers, your Seattle Weeklies — and until recently, the Boston Phoenix.

The legendary Boston alt weekly surprised the publishing world last month when it announced it was closing after 47 years. That led to a new round of concerns about the future of alt weeklies, which have seen a lot of the same revenue declines that dailies have over the past decade. And when daily newspapers were strong, it was easy to know who the alt weeklies were an alternative to; now there’s no shortage of alternatives to the alternative.

press-publish-logoTiffany believes that alts still have a solid future ahead of them, particularly in markets smaller than Boston. We talked about how their revenue mix is shifting, how some alts are changing their publication cycle and becoming more heavily digital, and who are the model players that other publishers should be watching. If you’re interested in the future of some of America’s most prominent newspaper brands, give our conversation a listen.

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