I'm writing this editor's note from a hotel room on Monday evening while my family sleeps. Since I took over the paper on the first of the year, I haven't really taken more than a day off (and that might have only been once or twice), so the break is nice, but I'm sure the Weekly is in quality hands while I'm gone.
As you read this, I'm likely off vacation and attending the annual Association of Alternative Newsmedia convention in Miami. The location of this event changes every year (last year, Detroit; two years ago, New Orleans) and while it would appear a tropical storm might sweep most of the nation's alt-weekly editors and publishers into the sea, it's consistently a great and rewarding time. This is partially because some of the events on the agenda have an open bar, but also because the attendees get to share ideas, see new products offered by vendors serving the industry and hear from journalists and technology folk from similar fields and interests.
While the panels, events, and, yes, the occasional bursts of free booze are all splendid aspects of the conference, I think what I look forward to most every year is the opportunity to grab copies of all the other papers that are part of the organization. Tables and tables in the convention hotel are filled each year with copies of issues from alt-weeklies across the country, and each year, I find myself trying to figure out how to jam 100 or so publications into my luggage.
This is another stage in the redesign of the Weekly, gathering ideas, what works and what doesn't, from publications within the alternative newsmedia world, whatever that means. When I get back, my plan is to assign a stack of publications to everyone within the Weekly universe of employees, having them look for what we can do better, both editorially and in our design. Some of these changes might pop up right away; some of them might be held back until the larger redesign work is done, but if there's something one of our peers is doing that we can steal, I'll be looking for it in a giant stack of newsprint I find some way to bring back from Miami.