Ben Eason, the CEO of alt-weekly chain Creative Loafing—which declared bankruptcy this week—has a vision for the future of his publications. And that vision is to be like Huffington Post Chicago. Huh? Here's what he wants, and here's our free quality advice to him, before he fucks up some of the nation's best alt-weeklies for good:
Eason has been holding up the Huffington Post’s Chicago website as a model. It has one employee, who essentially sifts through every media outlet in Chicago for the best stories and then links to them. He’s a filter of content, but not a creator of one. Eason is in awe of the model. Eason sees his papers doing something similar, but it “doesn’t mean we give up on original content.” Instead, Eason wants his journalists to be filling their websites up every day with fresh content. And not just fresh content, but links to other stories written by anyone in the world.
So: Eason wants his alt-weekly writers to spend all week writing for the web—being bloggers, in essence—and then, at the end of the week, somebody pulls the best bits from the website and puts them together to create the print edition. Problem: These cities don't need any more bloggers. There are already too many of us! What they need is more original content. Otherwise the bloggers just end up talking about each other, which is the most boring thing in the world. Shit, how much original content is left in Atlanta, anyhow? In DC, the City Paper has already stopped running cover story features. Is it raining pigs? I believe it is. Again: we don't need more bloggers. Content is really much more worthwhile. Invest in it. Any asshole can blog, shit. You have reporters. Use them! Solution: Fuck an alt-weekly. Become and Alt-monthly. Keep the features. Take your time. Consolidate. Save on printing costs. Save journalismism. And try not to go broke. Your cities will thank you. [Atlanta Mag via Romenesko/ Maura]