Now: Thanks to the efforts of Fox and the CityBeat staff, readers who want to be are now in the loop.
The paper prints 60,000 copies a week (compared to 25,000 when it was first published) with 1,500 distribution points (1,000 in 1999), and 201,000 adults read each issue, according to the lastest Media Audit report. While Fox is happy with those numbers, he knows the organization has to remain committed to the beliefs that made it successful in the first place. The balance of advertising and readership with voice and issues is a delicate one.
"We have to keep our edge," Fox says. "As you get into 10 years and beyond, the business side of things settles down. You could play it safe. Almost every week, it seems, we lose an advertiser because someone didn't like what we wrote. But we pride ourselves on critical thinking. ... We became successful because of who we are. If we change, we risk alienating the people who got us here."
In Fox's mind, some of the biggest issues CityBeat has covered in the last five years include "the race issues that came out of the riots in 2001, police-community relations and Article 12 and gay rights." He sees city issues being at the forefront of the next five years. "Housing, development, how to develop Over-the-Rhine and breathe life into downtown," Fox speculates. "The race issues still haven't been solved. People aren't honestly dealing with it, so (race relations) are going to continue to be a hot topic."
Fox says the next five years likely will see a new editor at CityBeat. "Within five years, it'll be time for someone else," he says. "I just turned 45. I don't want to put too much into age, but I don't think this paper should have a 50-year-old editor."
Ultimately, Fox is pleased with CityBeat's growth over its first 10 years, but he's not surprised by its success. "I thought we would be successful," he says, "and I thought the paper would do well. I'm not surprised -- but it's been a lot of work. Being an alternative paper in a conservative city has been a lot of work. Not that I'm complaining...."
Neither are the readers, who are happy to be in the loop.
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