When you're an alt-weekly known for skewering the establishment, how do you tackle the fact that you've been bought out by the establishment?
Baltimore City Paper takes a commendably self-effacing approach with today's issue, the cover of which was designed in the staid style of the paper's new owner, The Baltimore Sun.
Acknowledging that its buyout by the city's mainstream newspaper is "beyond absurd," City Paper squeezes an impressive amount of dark humor into its satirical cover. (Click here to see a full-size version.)
The Sun's lofty motto, "Light for all," has been replaced with "Jobs for some," a reference to the pending raft of City Paper layoffs. The lead story, speckled with obscenity and drug references, ends with the jump tease "MORE CURSE WORDS, Page 14." Each reporter's byline is a cobbled medley of media ownership, like "Baltimore City Paper, no wait, The Sun—no wait—The Hartford Advocate, no, The Sun, maybe? Taco Bell?"
While this spot-on cover surely won't be enough to placate readers and observers who are concerned about City Paper becoming a gutless annex of The Sun, the move definitely shows it might be possible to sell out without giving up.
Here's a comparison of how the two papers normally look:
And here's the full cover for this week's issue of City Paper: