Washington City Paper is for sale. Last Friday, staffers found out that our parent company, SouthComm Inc., hopes to close a deal for the paper by the end of the year. Initial offers are due Nov. 1.
Many alt weeklies across the nation are in a financially tough spot, and City Paper is one of them. Back in the 1990s alt weeklies like City Paper were rich in print ads, but those ads have declined gradually over years. Meanwhile, news publications of all stripes, alt weeklies included, have been reinventing their business models.
We see this sale ending in one of three general ways. First, City Paper could fold. It’s possible that there will be no buyer. Second, a buyer could come in and continue cutting staff members to match the paper’s declining income.
Third, City Paper could rethink the way we make money and find a winning business model, whether for-profit, nonprofit, some combination of the two, or a community ownership plan.
We are shooting for option three, and we stand open to your suggestions.
City Paper is, at its core, a local newspaper built for the people who live, work, and spend time in D.C. We investigate, we follow the money and tell you where it’s going, and we tell you where you can eat great food. We publish unmatched coverage of the District’s rich and diverse theater, art, and local music scenes. We capture the whole thing in photographs, and we have a history of delivering all this information in the kind of prose you won’t find in the straitlaced outlets. We’ve always been an alternative, independent voice. As staffer Laura Hayes said this week, “When everyone else zigs, we zag.” We aim to be authentic.
With a staff that’s a fraction of the size of The Post and other outlets, City Paper dominates its beats and gets scoops (some of them quite big) every week. It’s not uncommon for City Paper to lead the other outlets in D.C. We’re monsters.
This paper has also turned out a disproportionate number of extraordinary journalists—independent thinkers who have shaped their field.
Right now we’re reporting out our options and working on a plan. Email us at email@example.com with your thoughts.
In the meantime, we want our readers to have the very best in love, sex, and friendship. Place a classified to find your soulmate, have an A+ tryst, or meet your new best friend.
Also, we’ve gone ahead and vetted some potential buyers.