AAN News

Erik Wemple Says His New Job is 'an Enormous Opportunity'

After announcing yesterday that he was leaving Washington City Paper to edit a new local news website being launched by Allbritton Communications (the folks behind Politico), Wemple and Allbritton's Jim Brady made the media rounds to talk about the move. Here are some highlights:
  • Wemple tells Politico he's excited about the potential of the new site: "I think the possibilities, the horizons, really open up if you look at the talent and the resources that are behind this."
  • The site will try to incorporate work from Politico and Allbritton's two local TV operations, Wemple tells the Washington Post: "We're hoping to really carve some new ground as to how a TV and web operation can mutually reinforce themselves."
  • Brady explains to Washington Business Journal why he hired Wemple: "When you read the City Paper, you get a sense they're really having fun. That's not happening in a ton of places in journalism these days."
  • Wemple says he hopes to launch the site with between 15 and 20 reporters; DCist wonders if any will be current City Paper staffers.
AAN News  |  02-24-2010  9:56 am  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper Editor Erik Wemple is Leaving the Papernew

Wemple told the City Paper staff this morning that he's leaving in mid-March to edit a new local news website being launched by Allbritton Communications. Wemple has been affiliated with City Paper on and off since 1994, and has edited the alt-weekly since 2002. Wemple says Jim Brady, the former editor of Washingtonpost.com whom Albritton tapped to lead the new project, wants the new site to have the "Washington City Paper voice and feel and sense of authority about local stuff."
Washington City Paper  |  02-23-2010  11:57 am  |  Industry News

Richard Karpel, Erik Wemple Talk About Alt-Media's 'Economic Woes'new

AAN's executive director and Washington City Paper's editor joined the Project for Excellence in Journalism's Mark Jurkowitz and former Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff on a D.C. public-radio show yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion about how the digital transformation, changing demographics and the recession are affecting alternative media.
WAMU-FM  |  11-20-2009  12:12 pm  |  Industry News

Next 'How I Got That Story' Live Chat: Friday Afternoon

Washington City Paper editor Erik Wemple will discuss his award-winning media reporting with Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle on AAN.org this Friday, Oct. 30. Wemple took home first place for "One Mission, Two Newsrooms," his examination of the divide between the digital and print staffs at the Washington Post. Friday's chat will begin at 3 pm EDT. (FULL STORY)
AAN  |  10-27-2009  12:37 pm  |  Association News

Alt-Weekly Editor Asks Downie and Schudson: What About Us?new

This week's release of Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson's report "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" has the journalism world buzzing. "The report takes a particular interest in local accountability and enterprise reporting," Washington City Paper editor Erik Wemple notes, "which is the commodity most at stake as newspapers pare down their editorial staffs." After searching the report for any mention of the alt-weekly's role in journalism's future and finding none, Wemple says he understands. "After all, alt-weeklies ... only channel all of their editorial resources toward local reporting; only conduct long-form investigations of key local agencies and authorities all the time; only monitor city halls like no one's business; only do all kinds of arts reporting that no other outlets care to do; and have been at it only for about half a century now," he writes. "Why mention those news organizations?"
Washington City Paper  |  10-22-2009  12:14 pm  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper's 'Key Players' Talk About the Past & the Futurenew

In a lengthy Post Magazine feature, City Paper alums like Russ Smith, Jack Shafer and David Carr join current leaders Erik Wemple and Ben Eason in discussing the paper's history, its legacy and its future. Even former mayor Marion Barry, who recently appeared on a City Paper cover that incited some controversy, weighs in on the alt-weekly.
The Washington Post  |  08-10-2009  11:12 am  |  Industry News

Some D.C. Residents Cry Foul Over Washington City Paper's Covernew

The cover of this week's paper -- with the provocative headline, "You put me out in Denver 'cause I wouldn't suck your dick" -- has some district residents upset, the Washington Post reports. City Paper says the city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has received several calls complaining about the cover, which features a photo of councilman and former mayor Marion Barry with his arm around an ex-girlfriend who has accused him of stalking her. (The quote was taken from a recording of a confrontation between Barry and the ex-girlfriend.) "Some people are going to find that vulgar -- that's inevitable," editor Erik Wemple says. "If they find it vulgar, they can complain. It's worth putting it out there, and it's the truth. Sometimes the truth is vulgar." Publisher Amy Austin tells the Post that the negative reaction has been "much less than I expected," and that only three distribution spots have called to say they wouldn't display the paper while one has called to ask for more copies.
Washington Post | Washington City Paper  |  07-10-2009  10:08 am  |  Industry News

Huffington Post to Washington City Paper: Take Down Parody Pagenew

Faithful AAN.org readers may recall that on April Fool's Day, City Paper reworked its website to ape HuffPo's look. The parody -- The Huffington City Paper -- even received kudos from HuffPo itself. Now -- a day after the publication of a well-read City Paper column criticizing HuffPo -- the aggregator is asking the alt-weekly to remove the lightly trafficked page from its archives, in part because it contains a link to HuffPo. "Never thought I'd be scolded by a Huffington Post official for linking," writes editor Erik Wemple. "But I was!"
Washington City Paper  |  06-11-2009  2:27 pm  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper Editor Talks More About the Changes to Comenew

In a conversation with D.C.-area public radio host Kojo Nnamdi about "the changing face of City Paper," Erik Wemple says that "perhaps a little too much has been made of" his previous comments on the fate of long-form narrative pieces in the paper. Those stories are "an incredible abyss of work," he says. "We could not really sustain that sort of investment, while at the same time feeding the website." However, he adds, "it's not as if we will stop doing long narrative altogether," it will just be less often. He also notes that long-form narratives often don't generate much web traffic, and that Creative Loafing has made the web a priority. "If we don't come up with models that push web traffic, we are dead, and I am out of a job," Wemple says.
WAMU-FM  |  10-07-2008  8:58 am  |  Industry News

More on Creative Loafing's Bankruptcy Protection Filing

When Creative Loafing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, the news was widely reported. AAN News scoured the wires, separated the wheat from the chaff, and collected some of the pertinent information and opinion. (FULL STORY)
AAN News  |  09-30-2008  1:27 pm  |  Industry News

Creative Loafing Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protectionnew

The company, which owns Creative Loafing papers in Atlanta, Charlotte, Sarasota and Tampa, as well as the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning, the St. Petersburg Times reports. City Paper editor Erik Wemple reports that CEO Ben Eason discussed the filing with top company officials in a conference call this morning, and said that the bankruptcy filing would allow CL's six papers to establish a greater online presence while the company reorganizes its operations. A corporate memo on the filing says it "has little to do with the acquisition" of the Reader and City Paper last year. Eason also said that the move entails no liquidation or layoffs. In fact, the Chapter 11 filing will roll back editorial staff cuts at the papers, Wemple writes. MORE: Read more about the move from Creative Loafing (Tampa), the Reader, Crain's and Bloomberg News.
The St. Petersburg Times | Washington City Paper  |  09-29-2008  12:15 pm  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper Shifting to More Web-Centric Approachnew

The Georgetown Voice's nearly 3,000-word story on the alt-weekly looks at how it is evolving under the ownership of Creative Loafing, and how the paper is fighting to maintain its identity -- and market share -- despite having fewer resources. "You want to create a rich environment and then bring it down into the print," says CL CEO Ben Eason, who is currently focused on uniting the company's six papers as a national web presence. "Without a doubt, the web is a far richer environment than print." Editor Erik Wemple says he sees the paper a year from now as being "very, very, very much a web machine." But publisher Amy Austin adds that, while online advertising revenue is quickly growing for City Paper, it still only makes up approximately 5 percent of the paper's total revenue, which has been in decline. By 2006, the paper's net revenue -- traditionally around 15 percent -- had fallen to 4.7 percent.
The Georgetown Voice  |  09-26-2008  4:27 pm  |  Industry News

More Staff Cuts Could Be On the Horizon at Washington City Papernew

DCist reports that City Paper's parent company Creative Loafing needs to cut the paper's budget by $170,000. The belt-tightening could lead to additional layoffs at the alt-weekly (some production and editorial staffers were laid off after CL purchased City Paper and the Chicago Reader last year). "Like a lot of media companies, we are going through an exceptionally rough period, and indeed we are discussing how to cut expenses," editor Erik Wemple tells DCist. "I don't want to cite any figures at this point because we are trying our best as a company to minimize the impact. But yes, layoffs are part of the discussion."
DCist.com  |  09-02-2008  8:28 am  |  Industry News

Washington City Paper Staff Gets Dunked

The Washington City Paper operated a dunking booth at the Adams Morgan Festival in D.C. on Sunday. Fishbowl DC reports that Editor Erik Wemple and columnist James Jones both volunteered to get wet, and there are photos of the latter.
09-12-2006  7:53 am  |  Industry News

Wemple: Job of Making Washington City Paper Better 'Is an Ongoing One'new

Erik Wemple's coworkers at Washington City Paper had been "excited about the opportunity" for him to become editor of the Village Voice, he tells Mediabistro's FishbowlDC a week after changing his mind about taking the position. That doesn't mean they were anxious for him to leave: "Proof of Wemple's worth to the City Paper can be found in the fact that you'll be hard pressed -- and trust us, we've tried -- to find a CityPaper employee who's not pleased to have Wemple back in the saddle," FishbowlDC Editor Patrick W. Gavin writes. Wemple does acknowledge that "there are clearly legitimate questions about whether my head is in the game at this stage" -- questions that he intends to answer by doing solid work.
FishbowlDC  |  06-21-2006  7:40 am  |  Industry News