KEEPING THE ‘ALT’ IN BALTIMORE
In excellent news for the AAN world and Charm City (no, we still don’t know why they call it that), a new altweekly, Baltimore Beat, is launching this week. Hip-hop hooray! In even excellent-er news, Baltimore Beat is being launched by a group that includes many former staffers of Baltimore City Paper, which on Nov. 1 was shuttered by its owners, who also own the local daily, a decision announced last summer just weeks after employees voted to unionize (hiss).
A potential buyer, Kevin Naff, co-owner of the media company that publishes the nearby Washington Blade, an LGBT weekly, tried to work out a deal to buy the paper or at least keep the name, reports Columbia Journalism Review. The Baltimore Sun Media Group wasn’t willing to play ‘let’s make a deal that makes anyone else happy,’ so the buyers regrouped and decided to make a go of it with an all-new paper. Baltimore Beat at its launch will be one of the most diverse papers in the country, unsurprising given its LGBT weekly connection. Welcome to AAN, BB!
NO DEAD TREES IN HOUSTON
You could blame the declining print advertising revenue. Or you could blame the hit the economy of Houston took when oil and gases prices plunged. But you should probably also blame the weather. At least, that’s what Houston Presseditor Margaret Downing blamed in her editorial announcing the surprising news that, after weathering so many figurative storms, Hurricane Harvey literally knocked the paper off the shelf. (Well, that and the decision of parent company Voice Media Group to stop printing it.) Houston Press will now exist only in dot com form; its print product has gone the way of the wind.
FIRE THE BIG CHEESE
Last week, several altweeklies around the country simultaneously published a cover feature in honor of the one-year anniversary of the presidential election. In a story called “You’re Fired! Impeach Trump now. Ask us how!” several papers, including Salt Lake City Weekly, Planet Jackson Hole and Eugene Weekly, made the case for impeachment. From emoluments, to Russia, to the 25th amendment, to racism, Tweets and more, the papers stated the case for impeachment with passion, reason, resolve and frustration. Some also asked folks to add their names to the 1.3 million—as of this writing—who’d already signed a petition calling for his impeachment. (It’s here: impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org.)
In news that will give fans of local hip-hop a reason to smile, 23 papers across the nation also collaborated on a playlist of protest songs. Folio Weekly selected “CODE RED: ‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’” by locals Mal Jones, J. Blacco, Lost Firstborne and DJ Shotgun for the compilation. Look for the entire compilation on folioweekly.com.
FINALLY, AN ELECTION TO CELEBRATE
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 was a big day for progressive politicians and a prime day for numbers. (If you’re a math nerd, you’ll get it.) From Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Virginia, progressives gave conservatives a resounding trouncing. Virginia elected its first openly transgender delegate to the state house; Democrat Danica Roem poetically trounced Bob Marshall, a 13-term Republican who introduced a “bathroom bill” to prohibit trans students from using the bathroom of their choice and carried the state ban on gay marriage, reports C-Ville Weekly. Also in Virginia, Justin Fairfax became the second (yes, the second!) black person to win a statewide election when the Democrat won the race to become the Old Dominion’s next lieutenant governor.
The election was a historic sweep for Democrats and minorities, with Virginians also electing the first two Latina delegates to the state house and the first openly lesbian delegate. With 49 seats now held by Democrats in the 100-member state house, down from the 66-34 Republican majority, things are going to look a lot different in the “Lover” state come next legislative term. Florida lawmakers, consider yourselves warned.