Daily Distraction: Veteran staffers pay tribute to another fallen alt-weekly

Washington City Paper is ceasing print operations but will continue to publish online, a move with which we can certainly identify

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
New York Times columnist David Carr attends the TimesTalks at The New School on Feb. 12, 2015, in New York City. Carr died later that day at the age of 58.

Following 41 years on newsstands, the alt-weekly Washington City Paper will cease print operations, pivoting to an online-only model, which is something to which we can certainly identify, having gone through the same transition nearly three years (!) ago.

As a send-off, veteran staffers of the paper, which nurtured writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Katherine Boo and Jason Cherkis, shared some favorite stories from the decades as a print operation, which are collected here. Among the memorable tales included are that of an editor getting punched by a person named "Casino," sex workers turning up in the lobby attempting to buy ads, and the simple joys of listening in on the late David Carr, who served as the paper's editor for a time.

"It was great eavesdropping," wrote Michael Schaffer. "The time a community activist called to complain about being called an 'asshole' (after listening to the guy for a while, Carr rang off by saying, 'Ya know, Stu, you really are an asshole'). Or the time an overwrought D.C. councilmember called to complain that no one praised all the sacrifices he made for the city ('So quit!' Carr responded)."

Read the whole feature here and then revisit Rob Harvilla in the Ringer from 2020 on alt-weeklies finding ways to thrive amid the constant threat of annihilation, which includes an appearance from your loyal two-person crew at Alive.