The official explanation for Steve Lowery bailing as editor of CityBeat after a few days is that his heart wasn't in reinventing the weekly as a broader, more appealing magazine-like paper. According to multiple sources close to CityBeat, Lowery's heart also wasn't into firing incumbent writers and trying to get by with a slashed freelance budget.
Source A: "I feel the duty to let you know that an additional factor in Lowery's resignation -- and a sign of where the paper is going -- might be the fact that the paper's freelance budget was slashed to an embarrassing $1200 every week. It's pretty hard to make something 'with more of a magazine sensibility' with that to work with."
Source B: "Steve was asked to lay a bunch of writers off and he refused. Instead of laying off writers -- which is part of the paper's 'revamping' -- he decided to resign."
* Lowery replies:
Just saw the item that said I'd quit CityBeat because they asked me to fire people and were slashing the freelance budget. Though I would love, LOVE, to play the part of the ruggedly handsome martyr I want to make this clear: at no point did anyone, ANYONE, tell me to fire anyone, ANYONE, at CityBeat. We had one meeting while I was there to discuss the paper's finances and assess how efficiently things ran. Completely appropriate, I think, for an incoming editor. It was the same meeting that goes on every day in newspapers, magazines and TV news stations across the country. Yes, we did discuss cutting the freelance budget but that was because CityBeat was importing two full-time writers--myself and the ultra-terrific Rebecca Schoenkopf (she has a kickass piece this Thursday)--and the expectation was, as it should have been, that we would produce multiple pieces a week thereby lessening the need for freelance material.
Kevin, I cannot overemphasize how decent the CityBeat people have been to me during my little career crisis, as I cannot emphasize enough that my decision was totally personal. This was about a guy who's been in the business 25 years and wanted to try new things. That doesn't mean I won't write a thing or two every now and then in some newspaper or mag. But the folks at CityBeat have some very ambitious plans to remake their paper and those plans require an editor who is totally engaged and bursting with energy. I didn't think it was fair to pretend that I was that guy. Lucky for CityBeat, that energetic and engaged person was there, in the person of the aforementioned ultra-terrific, and somewhat awesomely-super, Rebecca Schoenkopf.