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Alternative Press: The Austin Chronicle

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After 21 years, The Austin Chronicle has moved from being an alternative entertainment biweekly to an Austin institution. Has success compromised its alternative roots? That depends who you are talking to.

Photo: Chronicle Founder Louis Black"We are alternative because we are a different voice than you read in the daily or hear on the radio or television," says Publisher and Founder Louis Black. "We present a unique point of view. It's an established point of view and people know it. But it still really is an alternative to the kind of lock step journalism that most journalism is engaged in."

Texas Monthly Publisher Mike levy disagrees.

"One of the great ironies about Austin these days, especially The Austin Chronicle, is that The Chronicle still refers to itself as an alternative newspaper," says Levy. "When in fact it's evolved, perhaps beyond their own aspirations, into a main stream newspaper that the body politic reads because the body politic wants to know what's going on in Austin."

No matter what you think about The Chronicle's alternative status most Austinites agree that it's become a weekly powerhouse in politics. As a weekly paper The Chronicle staff is able to devote more time and pages to issues of importance to Austinites. It has made itself a indispensable part of Austin's political scene.

"They definitely haven't always been on my side of issues. I've been just as aggravated with them as anyone else in town," says environmentalist Robin Rather. "But I'm not sure Austin could be Austin without The Chronicle."

Black says the purpose of the Chronicle is to cover politics with a bias but a known bias. He contends that this approach has given a voice to the most concentrated group of voters.

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Produced by Tom Spencer.


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