Media Watch


Tucson Weekly City Week editors usually last about two years before they burn out and check into a nice room with padded walls and complimentary straitjackets. Alas, our Carrie Stern held out only about five months. She has withdrawn from her duties not because of mental instability (which, some would say, is a prerequisite for getting hired in the first place), but because she couldn't balance her work hours with her graduate coursework at the University of Arizona and stay qualified for health insurance all at the same time.

So on June 7, the City Week duties passed to Laurel Allen, who is not quite a new face at the Tucson Weekly. She was hired in early March as a copy editor for the Weekly and its sister publication, Inside Tucson Business, four weeks after arriving in town from Tacoma, Wash.

Allen's checkered past includes studying Eastern European fiction at William Smith College in New York, from which she graduated in 1997. During summers, she worked for Cycle News, a motorcycle magazine, covering speedway racing ("That's where motorcycles with no brakes go around as quickly as they can and throw up dirt into people's beer," she explains) and serving as an editorial assistant. She also worked as assistant to the creative director at Egg Pictures, Jodie Foster's production company. "I was reading and rejecting screenplays that people had been working on all their lives," Allen says, unrepentantly.

After living in Crakow, Poland, for a year while studying at Jagellonian University and editing an English-language magazine for Polish high school kids, Allen moved to Washington state, where she started free-lancing for the Tacoma Reporter, later serving as editor of that paper from 1999 through 2001.

When the paper ran into the financial trouble that plagues many alternative weeklies, Allen and her husband, Rich, opened a coffee shop situated between an independent movie theater and a record store. "That gave me a lot of respect for small-business owners, but it's not something I ever want to do again," she says. She came to Tucson this year in search of more sunshine.

Allen's duties at the Tucson Weekly still include copyediting articles. "I read people's first drafts and help them shape their stories, and catch as many typos as I can," she says. She also handles the listings, a duty that feeds straight into City Week. "Doing the listings, I'm impressed with the amount of things Tucson has to offer, even in the summer," she says.

With her City Week selections, Allen says, "I would like to continue Carrie's tradition of appealing to the best in people by covering events like the U.N. day against torture; of mixing fun stuff with actually important stuff."


Three veteran KUAT managers are moving up, now that general manager Jack Parris has realized he's spending too much time on behind-the-scenes fund raising to keep an eagle eye on daily operations.

Rudy Casillas, who was recently inducted into the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Television Academy's prestigious Silver Circle Society, is now assistant general manager for television, increasing his oversight of local production.

Melissa Hayes, a decades-long stalwart of the fund-raising department, is now assistant general manager for development.

Michael Serres, who started out as a part-time KUAT-AM announcer in the late 1970s, has clawed his way up to assistant general manager for creative services, which includes directing promotion for the UA radio stations.


On-again, off-again Tucsonan Larry McMurtry checks in this Sunday with a review of Bill Clinton's memoir in The New York Times Book Review. Unlike the front-page trashing the notoriously anti-Clinton Times gave the book a couple of Sundays ago, McMurtry is favorably impressed with the doorstopper.


We're late catching up with this--the numbers have been available since late April--but the American Society of Newspaper Editors has released its most recent survey of minorities in editorial positions on the staffs of daily newspapers. The society is making the best of a poor situation. "Newsrooms at U.S. daily newspapers collectively improved their diversity by nearly a half of one percentage point in 2003, but the growth to 12.94 percent lagged behind the 31.7 percent minorities in the U.S. population," according to the society.

The U.S. Census figures for 2000 show that Arizona is 75.5 percent white, but getting more colorful by the day. So you'd figure at least a quarter of newsroom personnel in this state would be minority, particularly Hispanic. Not so, although three of the state's biggest papers come close. The question is, how many of those minority employees are in positions of authority?

Here are the latest percentages of minorities in Arizona newspapers; note that newsrooms get whiter, the further north they are:

  • Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, 23.0.
  • Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff, 0.0.
  • The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, 22.9.
  • Casa Grande Dispatch, 9.1.
  • The Daily Dispatch, Douglas, 16.7.
  • Daily News-Sun, Sun City, 18.2.
  • The Daily Territorial, Tucson, 0.0.
  • The Kingman Daily Miner, 0.0.
  • Today's News-Herald, Lake Havasu City, 0.0.
  • Tribune Newspapers, Mesa, 5.0.
  • Tucson Citizen, 29.5.
Alt weeklies, like the one you're reading now, are not included in the survey. Just as well in the Tucson Weekly's case, because the staff is predominantly Anglo. The Weekly has a good gender and sexual-orientation mix--male, female, gay, straight, transgender--but that wasn't part of the ASNE survey.
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