L.A. Alternative, R.I.P. (* updated)

creditAnother Los Angeles weekly paper bites the dust. This week's L.A. Alternative will be the final issue. In print form anyway. The letter to writers from owner Martin Albornoz suggests a possible future online. What is there to say when this happens but thanks everybody, good luck on the next gig — and dammit all.

Dear writers/reviewers/interns/family and friends,

Our cover story last week, on Art of Bleeding, began with the phrase, "Everything ends," and it's a phrase that is perhaps more relevant than we thought at the time.

This Fridayís issue of L.A. Alternative will be the last. That is not to say that our voice in L.A. media will necessarily disappear, but more on that later.

As for being an independent newspaper -- a non-corporate print publication -- it's become apparent in the four and a half years since Silver Lake Press launched, that it takes deep pockets to compete against the other newspapers in this city. Our problem has never been attracting loyal readers, but the cutthroat competition with our corporate rivals has made it harder to get and keep new advertisers. The fact that we lasted this long is still a feat. In fact, it's a real testament to the authentic voice we've created together. We turned a small family-run upstart paper into a leading voice in Los Angeles, and thatís something to be proud of.

The fact is, while print media will always be valued, newspaper publishing is hitting rough waters. The continued conglomeration of media companies such as Village Voice Media and the ongoing troubles at our own Los Angeles Times are the initial rumblings of print being displaced by the Internet. This will affect small independent publishers the most.

As the Web continues to grow as an egalitarian, and utilitarian, method of reaching readers, this may just be the right time to make the switch and attempt to give readers our irreverent take on local politics, art, music, food and culture, only online.

We will be experimenting for the better part of October with how to continue offering that voice in a way that makes sense given all of these forces. The transition will likely include a real combination of print aesthetics, editorial judgment and blogging speed. But for now, the future is wide open.

The Alternative went weekly just last December.

* Also out: The LA Weekly killed "Out There," its adventure travel and outdoor section, after a six-month run. Lack of ad support. It seems advertisers don't found newspapers the best way to reach outdoors types.

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