About AAN

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) is a 501c(6) organization, which represents 114 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

The Alternative News Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting independent journalism through free speech initiatives, story-sharing projects, and diversity programs to help alternative publications attract and retain diverse staff and readers.

Through its Diversity and Next Generation Scholarships, the foundation supports the development of the next generation of journalists and publishers in alternative news by underwriting the fees associated with attending the annual Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) Convention. The goal of the scholarships is to directly support the growth, education, and professional development of future alt journalists while connecting younger journalists with mentors.

Since its creation, the foundation has evolved to adapt to changes in the broader news industry. While remaining focused on its primary goal of encouraging diversity in both staff and coverage in alternative publications, the foundation has stepped up its efforts to fund journalism initiatives that are under threat in the current media environment.

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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.