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Philadelphia City Paper

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Philadelphia City Paper
TypeAlternative weekly
PublisherJennifer Clark
EditorLillian Swanson
FoundedNovember 1981; 42 years ago (November 1981)
Ceased publicationOctober 2015; 8 years ago (October 2015)
Headquarters30 S. 15th St., 14th floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102

Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The independently owned paper was free and published every Thursday in print and daily online at citypaper.net. Staff reporters focused on labor issues, politics, education and poverty. Critics reviewed the city's arts, entertainment, literary and restaurant scene. Listings of concerts, art exhibits, dance performances and other events were carried in the paper and in a comprehensive online events calendar.

The publication was established in November 1981 as a spinoff of the now-defunct WXPN Express newsletter. Philadelphia City Paper distributed 70,000 copies in more than 2,000 locations throughout Philadelphia, its suburbs and South Jersey. Its more than 2,000 orange-colored boxes and wire racks were found in Center City Philadelphia in cafes, small businesses and on many university campuses.

Each year, City Paper published a City Guide for college students and new residents.

Its monthly readership was 521,000, which was verified by Scarborough Research.

Founder Bruce Schimmel[1] sold the paper to the Rock family (Milton L. Rock and his son Robert H. Rock) in 1996.[2] In 2014, Metro acquired the City Paper from the Rock family.[3] In 2015, the City Paper was sold to Broad Street Media, owner of Philadelphia Weekly. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.[4][5]

Print edition[edit]

City Paper was broken into a variety of different sections.

Naked City: The paper's news section regularly featured A Million Stories, an offbeat analysis of current events in the city, the Bell Curve, the city's "quality-o-life-o-meter".

Cover Story: Typically a long-form feature, news, or service package, taking on various writing forms such as narrative, question-and-answer, and explanatory. The paper's front page art or design was usually centered on the cover story's content.

Arts & Entertainment: Reviews and short show previews of both local and national talent. The section covered a broad swath of genres, including music, photography, performing arts, books and visual arts.

Movies: Reviews and picks of local, independent and mass-produced films. Lead reviews were usually written by Sam Adams, Shaun Brady, or Drew Lazor. The section also included movie shorts (200-word graded reviews) and local repertory film listings.

Events: A calendar of noteworthy events in the city, highlighting everything from clothing boutiques and book signings to festivals and music performances with quick, witty previews.

Food & Drink: Reviews and features centered on local restaurants, cafes and bars, and also chronicles the goings-on of Philadelphia's restaurant community, such as openings and closings. Reviews were mostly handled by critic Adam Erace.

Online edition[edit]

City Paper's website featured the digital version of the print edition, along with links to blogs and social networking pages.


The Naked City: The news blog, covering anything from breaking news to quirky stories from the community.

Meal Ticket: The paper's food and drink blog.

Shop Savvy: Brenna Adams' expertise on shopping on a budget.

Data Points: A look at Philly's tech universe.

Let's Get It On: Rachel Kramer Bussel on sex of all stripes.

Philly: Hyper Local: This blog focuses on the local happenings with culture, food, people and more in Philly's neighborhoods.

Get Lit: Lynn Rosen reads between the lines for insights on the local book scene.

Social networking[edit]

City Paper had regularly updated profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Contests: The contest page offered viewers opportunities to win concert, theatre, movie tickets and more.


Associate Publisher Jennifer Clark

Editor in Chief Lillian Swanson

Senior Editor / Music Editor Patrick Rapa

Arts & Culture Editor Mikala Jamison

Senior Staff Writer Emily Guendelsberger

Staff Writer Jerry Iannelli

Copy Chief Carolyn Wyman

Production Director Dennis Crowley

Senior Designer & Social Media Director Jenni Betz

U.S. Circulation Director Joseph Lauletta

Account Managers Sharon MacWilliams, Susanna Simon, Stephan Sitzai

Classified Advertising Sales Jennifer Fisher

Founder & Editor Emeritus Bruce Schimmel



In 2015, City Paper won 11 Keystone Press Awards, awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

  • First Place: Investigative Reporting
Ryan Briggs
  • First Place: Series
Emily Guendelsberger
  • First Place: Feature Story
Natalie Pompilio
  • First Place: News Feature Story
Emily Guendelsberger
  • First Place: News Beat Reporting
Daniel Denvir
  • First Place: Feature Beat Reporting
Mikala Jamison
  • First Place: Front Page Design
Brenna Adams, Jenni Betz
  • Second Place: Personality Profile
Mikala Jamison
  • Second Place: News Photo
Maria Pouchnikova
  • Second Place: Video Story
Daniel Denvir, Emily Guendelsberger
  • Honorable Mention: Ongoing News Coverage
Daniel Denvir


In 2014, City Paper won 15 Keystone Press Awards, awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

  • First Place: Investigative Reporting
Ryan Briggs
  • First Place: News Series
Daniel Denvir
  • First Place: Feature Beat Reporting
Emily Guendelsberger
  • First Place: Photo Story
Neal Santos
  • First Place: Sports Photo
Neal Santos
  • First Place: Front Page Design
Reseca Peskin
  • First Place: Page Design
Reseca Peskin
  • First Place: General News
Daniel Denvir
  • First Place:Ongoing News Coverage
Daniel Denvir & Samantha Melamed
  • First Place: Featured Story
Ryan Briggs
  • First Place: Graphic/Photo Illustration
Evan M. Lopez, Emily Guendelsberger & Jess Bergman
  • First Place: News Beat Reporting
Samantha Melamed
  • Second Place: Feature Beat Reporting
Adam Erace
  • Second Place: Business or Consumer Story
Samantha Melamed
  • Honorable Mention: Column
Daniel Denvir
  • Honorable Mention: Special Project
Pat Rapa


In 2013, City Paper won 8 Keystone Press Awards, awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

Also in 2013, City Paper won one Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards.


In 2012, City Paper won six Keystone Press Awards, awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.[6]


In 2011, City Paper won two Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards.[7]


In 2010, City Paper won six Newspaper of the Year (NOY) awards, including the prestigious newspaper of the year honor.[citation needed]

Also in 2010, City Paper won six Keystone Press Awards, awarded by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.[citation needed]


In 2009, City Paper won three Newspaper of the Year (NOY) awards.[citation needed]

  • First Place (tie): General and Departmental News Coverage
  • First Place: Advertising Excellence
  • Second Place: Layout & Design


  1. ^ "Bruce Schimmel". Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  2. ^ Fagone, Jason (2012-05-24). "The Death (and Life) of the Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia City Paper | Philadelphia Magazine". Phillymag.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  3. ^ Mathis, Joel (2014-08-13). "Metro Buys City Paper; Layoffs Ensue | News | Philadelphia Magazine". Phillymag.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  4. ^ Northeast Times Staff (30 September 2015). "Broad Street Media acquires rights to Philadelphia City Paper". Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  5. ^ Brian Hickey (2015-10-08). "The alt-weekly printed its final edition today". PhillyVoice.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  6. ^ "2012 Professional Keystone Press Award Winners Division V" (PDF). Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  7. ^ "2011 AltWeekly Awards Winners Announced | Honors & Achievements". AltWeeklies.com. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2016-01-22.

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