Thursday, July 26, 2007

City Paper Bought by People Who Apparently Think Money Grows On Trees.

Hey, someone bought the City Paper, so now it's poised to become like the sort of crap New Times Media excretes on the sidewalk, but a whole lot lamer. Apparently, some company called Creative Loafing (for some reason) decided to purchase the City Paper and the Chicago Reader, presumably on some poorly thought out drunken dare. According to what we've read, the sage geniuses will opt to make the mistake of retaining the current editorial staff while moving large parts of the City Paper's operation to Atlanta and/or (ugh!) Tampa, Florida.

The news came just days after Washington celebrated this press release celebrating the ascension of Mike DeBonis to the Loose Lips column, which established a new land speed record for outright, disbelief-defying hyperbole:

[DeBonis] is an incredible stickler for facts; he can write like there's no tomorrow; he loves the Web and knows it inside and out; and he loves to report and report and report, which is the essence of this paper. He will preside over an awesome period of political coverage by WCP, perhaps unparalleled in the entire country.
We don't know much about Creative Loafing, but their websites are pretty decent and would be an improved model for the City Paper, even after the CP's decent redesign, which took their website boldly into an age in which it was actually superior to shoving a broomhandle inside a broken CRT. One thing's for sure, it sure makes all that talk from the fools at Late Night Shots a little empty--their bankroll braggadoccio means nothing when you can't outspend a gaggle of alt-culture mavens from Tampa, Florida. Jesus.

Over at the Chicago Reader, who own the CP, the word is that the news of the sale has the staff "discombobulated." There's no indication whether this agita extends to Reader executive editor and noted fussy-britches Michael Lenehan, but, if the deal puts his knickers in a tighter twist than usual, he can always make good on his threat of a year-and-a-half ago, and take his "yearlong journalism strike," which the rest of the nation will note as one more year of not being aware of his existence.

At any rate, we welcome our new conquering alt-weekly overlords. May the cullings be quick, brutal, and bypass the three or so people we think are worth keeping.


PK said...

I think Creative Loafing is one of the few things about Atlanta that doesn't completely suck. And don't worry, I'm sure the "retaining the editorial staff" announcement was just a nicety, and you can expect heads to roll at some point. Except for DeBonis. I mean, he can "write like there's no tomorrow!" What else needs to be said?

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the City Paper will ditch their horribly-pretentious, straining-for-edge, movie critics? The CP's movie pages are a haven for bitter director-wannabes. Sacking those poseurs should be the first step.

Jamie said...

Are you serious? Creative Loafing's web site is awful. Having a lot of garish colors and a jumble of search engines on the home page does NOT a good web site make. And besides, they're basically the same content-wise, except that CP's is reasonably professional looking, whereas CL's looks like one of those god forsaken parked-domain-link-advertising pages.

Not that CP's is anything special, but to hold up CL's as an example of a better model, really makes me wonder what you're smoking.

Red State-Blues City said...

Must agree with PK. The Loaf is Atlanta's Official Alternative Weekly paper. It occasionaly panders too openly to the ATL's hipsterious community (yes East Atlanta, I'm talking about all y'all.) Some of the writing doesn't suck, and most of the columnists they share with their sister publications are pretty good.
I, of course, take issue with their local theatre reviewer on a regular basis, but that goes with the territory.

The Deceiver said...

To each their own, Jamie, but I like many things about CL's website:
--Single nav bar instead of two.
--They fit their entire "above the fold" snapshot on one screen.
--Issue-by-issue search option.
--It doesn't insist that the "cover story" is the big draw (in alt-weeklies, it never is).
--Much more concision on the scroll-down (CP's page just goes on and on).
--Less advertising cruft.
--Less white space.
--And they find a nice way to keep their special one-offs alive on the page. likey. CL does need to fix the malformed characters on the left-hand column, below the "fold" though.

PK said...

(Just saw this, sorry for the late and now-irrelevant reply...)

Jamie, I can't speak for their web site. Haven't looked, and it seems like it's probably a waste of my three seconds anyway. I'm talking about the PAPER. Having a good web site and running a good journalistic enterprise are not the same thing at all, and I can't speak to CL's ability to do the former. And it's not like I live in Atlanta or anything, I have just seen the paper a few times visiting and compared to alt-weeklies in other cities (like ours).

Michael said...

Boy, you have a hard time recognizing tongue-in-cheekiness. That exuberantly hyperbolic memo wasn't a "press release" but an internal message sent to CP employees announcing the hire--and those messages are usually, yes, ridiculously hyperbolic. Perhaps if we'd known you'd be weighing in Erik would have toned it down a bit (<-- again, tongue-in-cheek!!!)

So you can save the memo snark for other CP-related matters, as I know you will.