AAN Accepts Two New Members, Elects Sally Freeman as President

july 18, 2013  01:00 pm
Left to Right: Ellen Meany, Sally Freeman, Fran Zankowski, Tiffany Shackelford, Kevin Goldberg

At the AAN Annual Meeting in Miami on July 13, members voted in two new publications, filled seats on the Board of Directors, and approved changes to the association bylaws.

Three publications applied for membership and two received the two-thirds votes necessary for admission: Coachella Valley Independent and Toledo City Paper.

The Coachella Valley Independent was launched as an online publication late last year by former Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle to serve Palm Springs and the Southern California desert area. It has since published two quarterly issues and plans to move to a monthly publication cycle in the fall.

Toledo City Paper has been publishing in northwest Ohio since 1997. Initially a weekly publication, the paper became a biweekly in 2008.

Members also voted on eight positions on the AAN Board of Directors:

  • Sally Freeman, publisher of Boise Weekly, was elected President. She succeeds Colorado Springs Independent CEO Fran Zankowski.

  • Amy Austin, publisher of Washington City Paper, was elected Vice President. Austin has served on the Board as an At-Large member since 2010.

  • Blair Barna, co-owner and advertising director of Charleston City Paper, was elected Secretary. Barna has served on the Board as Advertising Chair since 2008.

  • John Heaston, publisher/editor of The Reader in Omaha, Neb., was elected Advertising Chair.

  • Molly Willmott, director of digital/operations of The Memphis Flyer, was re-elected as Digital Chair, a seat she has held since 2011.

  • Bradley Zeve, founder and CEO of Monterey County Weekly, was re-elected as Free Speech Chair, a seat he has held since 2011.

  • Robby Robbins, multimedia sales manager for the Santa Barbara Independent, was elected as Marketing Chair.

  • Nashville Scene publisher Mike Smith was elected Convention Chair, which means the 2014 AAN Convention will be held in Nashville, Tenn.


  • AAN members also approved bylaws changes which created two new member types: Affiliate and collegiate.

    Affiliate membership opens the door to niche publications such as LGBT and ethnic news organizations (membership was previously limited to general interest publications), while collegiate membership allows universities with journalism programs to join the association. Neither Affiliate nor collegiate members will have voting rights.

    "These categories have been added to expand our membership and bring new mutually beneficial collaborations to AAN," said Freeman. "Collegiate members will build upon what has been successfully started with the scholarship program for entry-level journalists interested in exploring the alternative news media. Affiliate members may continue to develop to become full members with more exposure to AAN and its programs."

    She added, "We believe there are many things that we can learn from others participating with us towards a common goal."

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