While we were in the midst of Best of Tucson madness (thanks for your patience as we got that issue out to the streets, by the way), it wasn't a great week for our alt-weekly peers. First, the Providence Phoenix - a paper whose parent publication, the Boston Phoenix, closed down in 2013—announced that it was done. Then the San Francisco Bay-Guardian—one of the pioneers of whatever it is alternative newsmedia is—went dark, taking its online archives with it. If that wasn't quite enough to make every of my fellow alt-media journalists wonder if their LinkedIn page was sufficiently appealing to human resource managers, Knoxville's Metro Pulse also shut down.
And, of course, these closures led to a series of doomsday thinkpieces (thanks, Slate!) and social media shares by people who have some interest in the demise of alternative newsmedia or even just print media in general. But let me tell you this much: we're doing fine. And a lot of other alt-weeklies are as well. Sure, papers close and it sucks (especially the Providence Phoenix, which was doing great work until the end), but they do so for a variety of reasons that don't always reflect on the paper in the next state that's still operating profitably. The state of this industry is wildly different than it was pre-Craigslist and pre-any-number-of-other-factors, but what industry isn't?
Sure, I believe/hope/pray-to-whatever-deity-I-can-name that people will always appreciate a well-told story about what really matters to them. How we monetize that appreciation will almost certainly evolve, but I will continue to believe that an imaginative group of people can make this work, even as I lament the loss of jobs and information in Providence, Knoxville and the Bay.