Do you think that alternative weeklies are still relevant?
Still relevant. You know, I think they still serve a purpose and they’re still places where writers can launch their careers. They’re still part of the noise of the city. But I think it’s much more challenging to have a significant impact on a consistent basis. There are so many alternatives, so many places to get information.
Any other thoughts about PW?
There are two things. One is, working at a weekly is probably one of the hardest jobs in journalism in terms of sheer hours put in. Much harder than a daily; even now with cutbacks and stuff, you just don’t work 50- and 60-hour weeks. To work at an alternative, you had to really put in mammoth hours. That’s one thing. The other is just the sheer number of people who passed through, you know? And considering how many that was, I think the number of people who went away unhappy were relatively few.
The paper you now hold in your hands, PW, has been around for 40 years—more or less. Like most media stories, it’s a bit more complicated than that. No matter the changes, though, there is a through line in the paper’s history: a renegade spirit and a determination to give voices to the voiceless.
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom