Birmingham Weekly

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Birmingham Weekly is a free weekly alternative newspaper with offices at ___ 41st Street South in the Avondale Bricks building. The Weekly, started in 1997 by Birmingham Business Journal publisher Tina Savas, has a circulation of about 8,000-10,000 and is now published by Birmingham Communications, headed by Stephen Humphreys.

The editor of the Birmingham Weekly is Shelley Lauterbach. Past editors include Sam George, Thomas Spencer, Darin Powell and Glenny Brock, who held the position from 2002 to 2010. The Weekly is a member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, a trade organization, and the Alternative Weekly Network, a marketing group.

In 1998, the Birmingham Weekly was the target of a boycott in Gardendale led by mayor Kenneth Clemons and Pastors Greg Davis and Steve Gaines of The Church at Peachtree and First Baptist Church of Gardendale respectively. They objected to the content of personal ads and advertisements for phone sex as well as a perceived "anti-Christian" slant of reporting on churches.

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Savas hired Leishman away from Indianapolis' Yesse Communications as general manager in late 1999. In 2000 Leishman and his wife Lynn partnered with Creative Loafing, Inc, an Atlanta, Georgia-based chain of weekly newspapers, and with Tuscaloosa's monthly The Strip to form Magnolia Media and purchase Birmingham Weekly. The Weekly subsequently absorbed most of the staff of Creative Loafing Birmingham. Stephen Humphreys, who had assumed publication of "Fun & Stuff" after the death of his brother, Bobby Humphreys and subsequently sold it to Creative Loafing, became a part-owner and board member for Magnolia Media.

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In October 2005, a fifth overall design scheme for the paper, created by Mathieu Schmutzle was launched, partly to get away from the large capital "W" logo, used since 2003, which was too closely aligned with George W. Bush's supporters. That same year a Weekly Card promotion was launched as a separate business by Leishman. Although it was successful in generating ad revenues and sales, the discount card became a victim of its own success use of the discounts increased without limit. Acceptance of the card became unreliable, generating an injured reputation for the paper even as the model was being licensed to other papers.

In 2006 the Weekly's offices were relocated from ground floor space in the Highland Towers apartment building to offices in the Crow Building at 2014 6th Avenue North. Before that they had used two other Southside locations since their 1997 launch.

Special supplements published in the Weekly include Avenues, the annual Menu of Menus, annual Women's issue, annual poetry issue, annual photo/fiction issue, annual holiday gift guide, and semi-annual fashion supplements.

On June 7, 2008 Kyle Whitmire's "War on Dumb" column was awarded first place for best political column in the 55,000-and-under circulation division by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Medill School of Journalism.

Whitmire left the paper in 2010, followed shortly by Brock. They cited improper interference in editorial decisions for their departure, but also cited financial irregularities, including non-payment of income taxes withheld from staffers' paychecks.

Jesse Chambers served as interim editor during the turbulent period that saw ownership of the paper quietly transferred to Stephen Humphrey's newly-formed Birmingham Communications LLC. Contributor Sam George was named the paper's new full-time editor in July, and the paper's offices were moved to his basement until office space in the Avondale Bricks development was readied. In September George resigned, saying that he had been unable to secure payments for contributors who were owed money by the paper. Shelley Lauterbach became editor in May 2012.

References

  • Zurowski, Cory. (November 12, 1998) "Birmingham Weekly Fights Church-led Boycott." Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. - accessed March 26, 2006
  • Fazzone, Amanda. (November 9, 1999) "Leishman Named GM at Birmingham Weekly." Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. - accessed March 26, 2006
  • Iwan, Christine. (June 28, 2000) "Birmingham Weekly Sold to Holding Company" Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. - accessed March 26, 2006
  • Jordan, Phillip (August 3, 2006) "A new future at 2014". Birmingham Weekly
  • Brock, Glenny (September 30, 2008) "CL bankruptcy will not affect Bham Weekly" Birmingham Weekly Mixed Media blog
  • Harvey, Alec (March 1, 2010) "Editor Glenny Brock leaving Birmingham Weekly." Birmingham News
  • Kwon, Wade (September 7, 2011) "Birmingham Weekly, the untold stories". Media of Birmingham

External link