Creative Loafing, the conglomerate that owns the alt-weeklies in DC, Atlanta, Chicago, and several other cities, has filed for bankruptcy. The company has more than $40 million of debt, a number exacerbated by its purchases of the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper last year. This may be just a foreshadowing of some painful days to come for alt-weeklies in general—we also hear the Village Voice may be on the verge of some layoffs. Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason tried to put a positive spin on the move as one that will allow the company to reorganize safely without hurting quality:
The move does contain good news for editorial departments in the chain. Eason announced that cuts to edit staffs at all the papers would be rolled back but stressed that all the papers should proceed with “Web-first” publishing strategies, in which writers and editors customize their content for the Internet and subsequently transfer that content into their print products.Hmm. So the print editions will be old versions of the website? Alt-weeklies are in a tough place. They're being squeezed by the internet on virtually every front, particularly in large, cosmopolitan cities that have a lot of blog competition and heavy Craigslist use. As for the Village Voice , we hear that it may have some layoffs coming in the very near future. We have a call in to the Voice. If you know the facts, email us.