Urban Tulsa Weekly is officially alternative

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Congratulations to the paper for which I write, Urban Tulsa Weekly, for winning membership in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. It was one of five papers admitted out of 19 applicants for membership. UTW is only the second paper in the state to be admitted to membership. (The Oklahoma Gazette is the other.)

On its third try (the first was in 1999, the second was last year), UTW had the support of a majority of the membership committee, but not two-thirds, so it came to the full membership with no recommendation. This will give you some insight into the association's mindset. First, here are the comments from the committee:

Urban Tulsa Weekly 6 yes; 4 no

This newspaper is obviously making great strides forward, and has come a long way since first applying for membership. "Smart commentary, good news section, good, engaging writing overall," one member said. However, there were elements of the paper that made some committee members uncomfortable. "Little or no reporting -- just rehashing other people's points of view." There was concern that one story in the news section was little more than a military recruitment ad disguised as news.

And here is the account of the voting before the membership at large:

Holly Wall, editorial manager of Urban Tulsa Weekly, took up the case for her paper, noting they had taken to heart the recommendations about improving the paper offered by the Membership Committee on the paper's two previous applications. The Santa Barbara Independent's Robby Robbins defended Urban Tulsa Weekly against the committee's less flattering comments, arguing that judgments about its editorial content should take into consideration the conservative nature of the Tulsa market. After Wall and Robbins spoke, the paper was admitted on the second ballot.

Last year UTW didn't get the support of a majority of committee members, but there were signs of hope. The committee report began with a comment about music editor G. K. Hizer's sartorial choices: "A music editor in a tie? Now that's a conservative market. We're rooting for Urban Tulsa Weekly -- and winning columnists Michael Bates and Barry Friedman -- but have concerns about the stories in the rest of the paper."

Barry has, of course, moved on, but the AAN's approval is a recognition of the improvements that UTW continues to make. I'm pleased to have played some small role in UTW reaching this milestone, and I'm pleased to be part of a paper that is both conservative and alternative, even if that combination flummoxes our alt-weekly colleagues.

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4 Comments

sbtulsa said:

do they accept op ed pieces?

You bet. Send your submissions to editor at urbantulsa dot com.

Frazier said:

Congratulations to you and UTW on this great achievement!

kelli said:

How would I go about submitting cartoons to UTW? Thanks.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 18, 2007 7:54 PM.

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