Weekly Alibi, Albuquerque's only alternative weekly, announced three major layoffs this week, including the newspaper's top editor.
Marisa Demarco, who serves as the editor, news editor and arts manager; Tom Nayder, who serves as the art director and production manager; and Jeff Drew, one of the newspaper's two graphic designers, all got the axe this week. Publisher Carl Petersen says it's part of a "restructuring change" to keep up with the hard times.
"Certainly this recession has been dragging on for a long time," Petersen, who will now be editor and publisher, tells SFR. "A certain amount of rightsizing needed to be done."
He acknowledges that the cuts were hard.
"We're a small company," he says. "I feel close to all of these people."
He adds that Nayder and Drew will continue freelancing for the weekly and that he'd love to get writing assignments for Demarco. But the downsizing in editorial—Managing Editor Margaret Wright also turned in her notice this week—will naturally mean less news coverage.
"We're going to be doing less investigative news pieces but are still going to have op-ed pieces and interesting things," he says. "We're not restricting ourselves at all."
He adds that circulation is still at 40,000 a week, with a readership of 178,000.
In his two decades at the Alibi, Petersen shifted through the ranks before becoming publisher and at one point wrote an award-winning humor column in the 1990s. Now, he takes on both as editor and publisher, a task he admits will be a lot of work but one he says he's looking forward to.
"It's a very exciting time to be here," he says.
Still, Petersen wouldn't comment deeply on the state of the Alibi's financial stability.
"We’re still around when a lot of newspapers are not," he says. "We’re scrappy and we know how to survive."
Updated 9 am Sunday, Dec. 16: While the initial post stated that Alibi Managing Editor Margaret Wright
"is the only full-timer left below Petersen on hard news," SFR has since confirmed that Wright turned in her notice this week.
Correction: This post incorrectly stated that Marisa Demarco would continue freelancing for the Alibi. According to Petersen, Jeff Drew and Tom Nayder will continue freelancing for the Alibi. Demarco writes to SFR that she's done contributing to the paper.
Photo courtesy Weekly Alibi.