By now, many of you know that LEO was recently sold to Euclid Media Group, which owns several other alt-weeklies across the country. You might have read the press release, or an article in another publication, and while all of those seemed about as fair and accurate as our staff could have hoped for, we also realize that those things can be a little vague and ambiguous, leaving people with more questions than answers. I certainly don’t have all of the answers either, but I’ll tell you what I know and what the editorial staff of LEO Weekly hopes to accomplish moving forward.
I’ve been at LEO for about seven years, serving first as the online and music editor and, for the last six months, as the managing editor. To simplify what I’ve always viewed as LEO’s main goal: Find smart people to tell smart stories, whether it’s the political perspectives of the paper’s sharp columnists or the news and arts writers constantly searching for important, unique and underrepresented voices in the community. I think I can speak for the entire staff when I say that goal remains the same. Going from being independently owned to being scooped up by an out-of-state parent company can feel daunting for an alt-weekly, but Euclid seems like they want to do a soft takeover and let LEO continue to be LEO. The staff is completely the same as it was two months ago, except for, of course, Aaron is no longer here, but our publisher, our business manager, our sales people, our edit staff — everyone else made this issue. And I have nothing but respect for all of those people. It’s been a turbulent ride. Not that I know much about the business side, but LEO, like most alts, makes a fair amount of revenue via event advertisement. When COVID shut everything down, ads went dry, resources followed, and if Vegas would have set odds on our survival, we probably wouldn’t have liked what we saw. My point is: Everyone on this staff is still local, and all of us deeply love this paper, and we’ll continue to work toward making the publication the best we possibly can. We believe in the importance of LEO. Otherwise, we probably would have all already quit.
It’s been a tragic and heavy last few years for Louisville and the rest of the world, and this city is fortunate to have such a talented media landscape, one that might bicker and Twitter duel every once in a while, although I have a feeling the outlets have gained a lot of respect for each other recently. That makes us want to be better. This city and state is full of brilliant artists and activists, and, on the other side of that coin, problematic “leaders” and power structures. Telling those stories remains incredibly important to us. Finding more writers and voices to add to the paper also remains incredibly important to us.
While it’s not exactly easy to know— even from the inside — what LEO will look like as it enters its next stage, the people here, as of this moment, will continue to thrive to tell engaging and meaningful stories in a vibrant way that contextualizes and digs deeper into the city’s most pressing issues. We want to make you think, learn and question the powerful in the views and news sections. And then you can flip a few pages and plan your weekend from staff picks. And then flip a few more page and read about the city’s newest bands. We want you to be able to jump on the website and consistently find something new. I’ve always felt like alt-weeklies are a strong asset for the community, and we’ll continue to deliver yours. •