by Jimmy Boegle
On Feb. 22, 1984, the first issue of a brand-new newspaper hit the streets of Tucson. That first, 12-page issue of The Tucson Weekly featured a cover story on Gary Gisselman, then the artistic director of the Arizona Theatre Company.
In the 25 years since then, that little newspaper has grown into one of the most respected alternative newsweeklies in the country.
On Feb. 26, 2009, the Tucson Weekly will celebrate its first quarter-century with the 25th Anniversary Issue. In addition to celebrating the writers, stories and advertisers of the Weekly’s first quarter-century, the special edition will look back on the last 25 years in Tucson—and the city’s prospects for the next 25 years.
Editor Jimmy Boegle said the Weekly plans to go all-out for its silver-anniversary celebration.
"It’s a big deal for any business to survive for 25 years," Boegle said. “But after looking at what the Weekly’s accomplished over 2 ½ decades, I can say this paper didn’t just survive; as far as its content, it’s thrived. There were ups and downs, of course, but we have a 25-year record to be proud of.”
Senior writer Jim Nintzel, the Weekly’s most veteran staffer—he’s been with the paper for 19 years—examined approximately 1,300 issues of the Weekly for a special timeline that will be included in the 25th Anniversary Issue.
“This has been one crazy carnival over the last quarter century, and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it,” Nintzel said. “Looking back at all those issues, I’m amazed at the talent that has appeared on these pages. It’s been a wild ride.”
As the Weekly enters its second quarter-century, many newspapers are struggling due to a combination of factors—especially the current economic downturn. However, Thomas P. Lee, the Weekly’s publisher, said the Weekly has a bright future.
“Seeing daily newspapers collapse all around us is unsettling,” Lee said. “We grew our roots working to be an alternative to bland daily journalism. But Tucson will have the Tucson Weekly to kick around for many years to come. We have our excellent staff, and our loyal readers, to thank for that.”
The 25th Anniversary Issue is the official kickoff of the Weekly’s year-long celebration of the newspaper’s silver anniversary, which will include contests, promotions and special events. In March, the Weekly—which has been on the Internet since 1995—will launch a brand-new Web site. In June, the Tucson Weekly will be bringing the alternative-newsweekly world to Tucson as the host of the 32nd Annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention.
For more information, contact Jimmy Boegle at (520) 295-4221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.