Intern(al) Affairs: Jeff Barg recalls some truly memorable characters and polls former interns on what it was like to work for free.
Cover Me Rad: Portraying the counter-cultural revolution. A look at some stories we just had to tell.
Coming of Age: The making of Philadelphia Weekly, from the Welcomat to now.
Musical Heirs: Former Music Editor Neil Ferguson and current Music Editor Brian McManus attempt their first sober conversation in six years.
High on the Blog: Meet Dan McQuade, the paper's first and only full-time blogger.
Staff infection: Joey Sweeney on being the most hated/most loved staffer at the paper.
One of the great things about working for PW as an illustrator/cartoonist was the amount of freedom that I was given to do the kind of work that I wanted to do. Art Director Jeff Cox always trusted that I would come up with good ideas for cover illustrations, and in turn, I trusted that any alterations that he suggested would improve the work as a whole.
I refuse to buy the argument that ‘newspapers are dead’. That is a complete red herring. The newspaper is simply one type of vehicle for conveying what readers really want, which is accurate and timely information.
We started the blog in August. It was just as Hurricane Katrina hit, so my first few weeks consisted of me finding my way and attempting to make light jokes about hurricanes without offending anyone. (Later, I’d drop this “not offending anyone” strategy.)
For some reason—and I don’t think this would even be the case as much today—the idea that here was a guy in bands who was writing about other bands, a lot of people found that really offensive.
I think there were two periods when PW was really good—one was when we had Rick Fellinger, Karen Abbott and Solomon Jones. I’m so hesitant to name these people because I’m so afraid I’m going to leave somebody out. Then at the end, the year before I left, the paper won the most awards in its history.
That wasn’t exactly my strong suit. My role was to get things done. I probably could have been a little nicer and more supportive, but it really worked out well.
After three of the worst meals of my life at the one-time institution that was Bookbinders in Old City, I wrote a review that began, “Bookbinders is bad.” To which the current GM (and former owner) responded by emailing me: “I guess a blowjob is out of the question.” To which I responded by forwarding his email to our gossip columnist.
In 2005, PW hired its first music editor, Neil Ferguson. After he left, the powers that be punched Brian McManus’ number as Ferguson’s replacement. McManus has been music editor ever since. Here, the two attempt to have their first sober conversation since they met six years ago, as they reflect on ups and downs of their coveted position.
Another Solomon Jones piece. At the time, this story—of a massacre in a crack house, Philly's worst mass murder—was all people could talk about, and Jones dug into the story in a narrative way no one else did.
Seeking a wider audience, the paper sheds its tabloid look in May 1995. The provocative cover and accompanying narrative signals the Welcomat’s transition from a community oriented pub to a formidable player in the alternative weekly arena.
Hard to believe now, but there was a time when every self-respecting bar, brew pub and restaurant in this city had to toss some money inside our doors. That unseemly bit of commerce, however, translated directly into paying jobs.
The Welcomat was always a ridiculous name. I always said, “Well, the publication transcends its name after a while.” When they did change the name, it became a sort of generic alternative weekly at that point.
For so many who have passed through the hallowed halls of PW ’s legendary intern program, it started—as it should—with a horse.
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