This week, Baltimore City Paper editor Brandon Soderberg oversaw his paper’s last issue. It’s another blow to the alt-weekly world, which I watch very closely for obvious reasons. (Everyone knew this was coming by the time I met Soderberg in July. No big surprise, I guess.)
Here, the Washington Post chronicles the end of that era. Soderberg called his staff’s “Baltimore Ceasefire” reporting earlier this year the thing that “best captured” his vision of what the City Paper could be.
I think often about my own vision for Scene, and if you’ve shared a drink with me in a shadowy bar anytime in the last five years you’ve probably heard some aspects of it. I’m proud as hell of what our staff has accomplished this year (and in years past) in our public accountability reporting and our in-depth chronicling of Cleveland culture. And the next story looms evermore.
For Soderberg’s part, beset by the knowledge of his paper’s own execution, he began testing what he calls “journalistic IEDs” throughout the summer and fall. He set up a nonprofit to help fund investigative journalism, which he then worked to get into other regional outlets. He and a staff will now debut a new weekly newspaper, Baltimore Beat, on Nov. 15.
And so there’s still hope for independent print media in cities run by cartoonish public criminals and liars, in towns operated solely to gaslight taxpayers and in regions beset by environmental disaster in an age when the very notion of “nature” is morphing quickly like a spectral ghost into the stuff of fantasy. I hope the people in those cities are watching very closely too.