Trouble At The American Journalism Review

Sad news for a long time standardbearer in journalism commentary: The American Journalism Review is facing nearly $200,000 in debt and the risk of liability thanks to a lawsuit the paper is involved in. Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw sued the AJR for libel over an article about her paper that covered alleged interference in stories by McCaw. Unfortunately, the AJR‘s libel insurance won’t cover any potential damages from articles written by freelancers. The story of troubles at the AJR was broken by the Washington Post‘s Howard Kurtz. We recently spoke with EIC Tom Kunkel, who seems ultimately optimistic about the AJR‘s future (as does Kurtz):

“Well, journalism reviews have never been the road to profit, that’s for sure. As I said in the Post story, AJR has been a financial struggle since the day it was born, and that basically has been the case with any and every journalism review ever produced over the years. But we fight the fight because it’s important. Having said that, that fight has gotten much tougher in recent years because the turmoil in the news industry has resulted in even further cutting back of media advertising. That has put more pressure on us to raise external funds — gifts and donations, basically — to make up the difference. But one way or another we’ve kept AJR going into its third decade, and my prediction is that we will continue to keep it going.”