'Washington City Paper' Cuts Salaries By 40%, Looks For Buyer

Washington City Paper told staffers Monday that their salaries will be cut by 40% starting January 1 as parent company SouthComm struggles to find a buyer for the Washington, D.C.-based alt-weekly.

The reduced salaries mean most editorial employees will make below $30,000 a year, according to a report from The Washingtonian.

Washington City Paper has been up for sale since October. Chris Ferrell, the CEO of SouthComm, had said he was looking to find a buyer by the end of the year.



Conservative political commentator and talk show host Armstrong Williams once expressed interest, but announced last week he would not acquire the publication.

The Nashville-based SouthComm bought the 36-year-old City Paper in 2012, but now wants to focus on business-to-business outlets, which Ferrell calls “a better business.” The company wants to cut its alt-weeklies.

In November, SouthComm laid off 25% of the editorial staff at the Nashville Scene, including editor Steve Cavendish, who had previously edited City Paper.

According to SouthComm’s website, it owns more than 30 business-to-business publications.

Alt-weeklies have been hit hard as a result of declining print advertising revenue. The Village Voice, arguably one of the most iconic alternative publications, ended its print product in September. Weeklies in other cities, such as Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, have shuttered.

Voice Media Group sold LA Weeklyin October to new owners Semanal Media, which subsequently fired nine of the paper’s 13 editorial staff members, retaining only one full-time writer, a copy chief, a creative director and a music listing coordinator.
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