About AAN


The Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) is a 501c(6) organization, which represents 115 alternative newsmedia organizations throughout North America. AAN member publications reach more than 38 million active, educated and influential adults in print, on the web and on mobile devices.

AAN's purpose is two-fold: to provide services and leadership that ensure the success of its members; and to strengthen alternative journalism through advocacy and education.

There are a wide range of publications in AAN, but all share these attributes: an intense focus on local news, culture and the arts; an informal and sometimes profane style; an emphasis on point-of-view reporting and narrative journalism; a tolerance for individual freedoms and social differences; and an eagerness to report on issues and communities that many mainstream media outlets ignore. AAN members speak truth to power.

AAN was founded as the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies in Seattle, Wash., in 1978. It began with 30 newspapers, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Creative Loafing, Phoenix New Times, Willamette Week and the Chicago Reader.

In 2011, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies became the Association of Alternative Newsmedia to reflect its newly-adopted bylaws allowing digital-only members. While the name change was a practical move, philosophically it meant an industry-wide acceptance of the evolution that had been occurring in local markets at member papers across the country for several years. And, like the whole media industry, AAN papers are engaged in a huge pivot, one in which they are seeking to remake the business model in a way that supports our brand of journalism.

The benefits of membership are many - AAN offers strategy and skill-building workshops, a content exchange system and group rates on liability coverage and circulation audits. There is great power in a united coalition with common goals, and AAN represents the interests of alternative publications through partnerships with companies that support our members’ missions and day-to-day operations. AAN members can also take advantage of free or group-rate services for classified ads, job boards and touchscreen publishing. Most importantly, AAN members support one another by sharing ideas and solutions to problems many alternative media outlets face.

AAN's member publications are instinctive experimenters - they've made their names as agile trendsetters, ready to jump on new ideas in business. And, they enjoy a reputation of independent, thoughtful voices within our communities. Our association and members combination ethos is - edgy and forward thinking, community and local committed, but digitally savvy and business minded.

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AAN Foundation

AAN believes that staff diversity is good business, good citizenship, and an invaluable element of good community journalism. But as an industry, the alternative press has found it difficult to attract and retain minority writers and editors.

The Alternative Newsweekly Foundation was created in 2003 to support diversity by promoting the recruitment, training, and hiring of minorities at alternative newsweeklies. The Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which provides a means for AAN members and others to make tax-deductible charitable contributions that help fund diversity-related programs such as the diversity grants and the former Academy for Alternative Journalism.

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Financial Standards Survey

Many publishers find this annual benchmarking study to be the most valuable program that AAN offers.

To participate in the survey, members submit financial data in confidence to an independent consultant, who compiles the results and issues a customized report providing industry averages in all revenue, expense and salary categories. Averages are provided for several different revenue categories (e.g., less than $2 million, $2-3 million, etc.) so participating papers can compare their operations with papers of like size.

rssAAN News

AAN Fighting for FOIA

AAN was one of fifty organizations who sent a letter to President Obama asking for his commitment to certain basic principles regarding the Freedom of Information Act. (FULL STORY)
AAN  |  Legal News

Dig Portland to Launch

Dig Publishing, LLC (parent company of alt-weekly media company Dig Boston) announced today that it will be launching a new company called Dig Portland. (FULL STORY)
Dig  |  Press Releases

It's All Journalism: Behind the Scenes of the New York Times Innovation Report

An interview with Amy O'Leary, deputy editor of digital operations at The New York Times, and Tyson Evans, the Times' editor of newsroom strategy. (FULL STORY)
It's All Journalism  |  It's All Journalism
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