ations and innuendo, but didn't back them up or offer possible options.

Scene has been offering the longer more detailed articles that weren't so screedy. Still, competition is a good thing and without two alt weeklys, the chances increase that the quality can drop. I hope not.

Posted by: Chas Rich at October 3, 2002 10:54 AM

Chas,

Mine was something of an outsider perspective. I'm a Cleveland native but don't live there anymore. I'd read Scene when I was in town, but read the Free Times more frequently online to keep up with things on the North Coast. Sticking with the Free Times went back to the days when Scene was fish-wrap. I agree that Scene had much improved in the past few years, but I still think the Free Times had a lot of zest and bite, even if I usually didn't agree with their positions. In any case, the changes at the two papers weren't as evident to me as they would be to someone local.

The whole thing also shows how Village Voice Media had mishandled a top-notch independent paper, before lopping the whole thing off in their deal with NT Media.

Posted by: Chris Anderson at October 3, 2002 12:42 PM

Chris,

We're all outsiders. You're an ex-pat; I'm a non-native now residing in the area.

No disagreement over the mishandling by Village Voice. The quality really started dropping off around 2-3 years ago -- right around when VV took over. The staffing turnovers during this time were amazing. Not just editorial and reporters, but also advertising and marketing.

Because of the staffing problems, the local coverage really dropped in both quality and quantity. Free Times started running more and more material that came from sister publications. Scene by contrast, made huge strides in local coverage. Getting Derf to jump was a huge boost to their credibility and to lure readers.

About 4 months ago, Scene even did a story about the troubles at Free Times, saying it wouldn't be a surprise if it shut down in a couple months.

Posted by: Chas Rich at October 3, 2002 03:24 PM
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