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The Alt to cease publication

The Alt to cease publication

Alternative newsweekly to be redesigned as montly arts magazine published by Proctors Collaborative
The Alt to cease publication
Past editions of The Alt
Photographer: John Cropley

SCHENECTADY — Alternative newspaper The Alt is closing down. Its last issue will be printed Sept. 5.

Proctors, one of the biweekly paper’s three owners, will replace it with a monthly arts/entertainment/culture publication called The Collaborative and debuting in November. The new publication draws its name from Proctors Collaborative, the umbrella organization announced earlier this week by Proctors to give its multiple facilities and endeavors a unified brand.

Proctors CEO Philip Morris said he hopes to retain the entire four-person staff of The Alt to produce the new publication, and will likely move their office across State Street from Urban Coworks to Proctors.

The Alt debuted in November 2016 as a weekly with a mix of news, entertainment and cultural content. It was a joint venture owned 40 percent by The Daily Gazette and 30 percent each by Proctors and Overit, an Albany-based website development/public relations firm.

The Daily Gazette, as a newspaper and majority owner, was involved in early stages of The Alt’s run but has had no role in its publication for nearly two years, beyond printing it. The Daily Gazette has now relinquished its ownership stake.

Gazette Publisher John DeAugustine said The Collaborative will be a glossy publication that Gazette presses cannot print.

“We were really happy to be part of The Alt, and we’re excited that Proctors is going to continue this mission with the new publication,” he said.

The Collaborative will be a 10,000-circulation regional monthly magazine devoted solely to cultural and arts coverage and distributed at more than 175 locations in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington counties. 

It will cover arts, entertainment and culture, forgoing the news coverage that was one of the pillars of The Alt and replacing The Alt’s heavy focus on Troy with a wider regional view.

“We’ve been thinking about our role in the region for a long time,” Morris said. The Proctors Collaborative model was a logical evolution, he said, and creating a publication dedicated to its mission was part of the plan.

Jim Murphy, director of marketing and corporate relations at Proctors Collaborative, has been named publisher of The Collaborative. He is a newspaper industry veteran and former vice president of advertising at The Daily Gazette.

The Collaborative is now recruiting contributing editors who are experts locally in dance, fashion, film, food, music, theater, visual arts and writing.

“We’re going to go deeper behind the scene and explore more deeply all things related to the creative economy,” editor David King said in a news release. “This is a Capital Region magazine devoted to artists, arts and cultural organizations and arts patrons.

“The Alt struck a powerful chord within the community, was warmly received by its audience, and told stories that would have otherwise been untold,” he said. “The Collaborative approach will be very much in that vein, albeit with a more targeted focus.”

Friday was a dark day for alternative newsweeklies, as New York City’s venerable Village Voice went under. It was one of the first, largest and most storied publications in the category, collecting three Pulitzer Prizes since its 1955 debut. But the Village Voice struggled in recent decades, like so many newspapers. In the 1990s it switched from paid to free print publication. In the 2000s it endured a series of leadership and ownership changes as well as staff cuts. It went digital-only in 2017. On Friday, it ceased publication altogether.

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