Happy Quinceañera

The Alibi turns 15

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, September 20, 2007

So what? Why now?

Those words were some of the first bestowed upon me when I started working at the Alibi as an intern three years ago. Then News Editor Tim McGivern sat me down on the gnarled couch in his (now my) office, turned down the Tom Waits bellowing from his computer and explained that every story worth telling answers those two basic questions: Why does it matter, and why does it matter right now? I’ve tried to apply that lesson to every story I’ve written since and, in that tradition, I’ll try to do it for this one as well.

The “why now?” is easy. Oct. 9 marks the Alibi’s 15th anniversary. Over the last several days, our editorial staff (including Steven Robert Allen, Laura Marrich, Devin D. O’Leary, Marisa Demarco and Amy Dalness) has thumbed through nearly every page printed in those 15 years and, let me tell you, that body of work feels impressive.

The “so what?” isn’t as easy to define. What has the Alibi accomplished over the last decade and a half? Why do we, the writers and artists and salespeople and administrators, pour ourselves into pushing it out every week? Why do you read it? Why does it matter?

After days of blackening our fingers with newsprint and flipping through articles filled with not just our own but the city’s history, I like to think in the last 15 years the Alibi has accomplished a lot. We’ve launched ourselves into the community with the hope of entertaining and educating, connecting our readers with the creativity, diversity and passion at the gut of this city. We exhaust ourselves for it every week because we love it—the work, the product, what the “alternative” in our name stands for, which isn’t so much progressive politics as it is a symbol of our desire to tell stories other media won’t report, in a way they won’t report them. You read it, we hope, because you enjoy it. And for that last sentence alone, it matters very much indeed.

This reflection has become an emotional endeavor as well. As we celebrate this remarkable anniversary we are also about to lose our editor-in-chief, Steven Robert Allen, who has guided the paper to where it is today. It is poetic irony that this issue is his last, and next week he will leave us for a new job as the executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. Steve possesses all the qualities we could hope for in an editor and a friend, and I know I can speak for all members of the paper when I say he will be missed (even though he’ll only be two blocks away).

Steve’s departure is another score on the Alibi’s history, and our page-flipping sessions have reminded me just how rich that history is. We’ve tried to gather some of our favorite, or at least most memorable, parts of it for your perusal, from a 12-page biweekly started by two fresh-out-of-college kids to the award-winning weekly it has become. We hope you enjoy the journey as much as we have.

Here’s to the next 15 years.