Romenesko says Anderson, who worked at the Weekly for 15 years, now doesn't. No comment from the Weekly or Anderson yet, but the move appears to be part of widespread layoffs across the Village Voice Media chain.
Experienced writers at VVM-owned weeklies in New York, Phoenix, and Orange County have been axed. Same story in Minneapolis, where an "especially aggressive newshound" named Gregory Pratt was recently let go from the VVM-owned City Pages. The editor there says they'll fill the void with "pitches from the community," paid for with a newly bumped-up freelance budget.
UPDATE: Anderson writes, via e-mail:
I'm limited by a separation agreement. But:I can point out the obvious: this latest round of VVM economic cutbacks in part targeted higher-salaried vets like myself and Paul Rubin in Arizona. As someone pointed out on Romenesko, we were two of just six writers included in a VVM anthology, the corporation's first e-book. It was released in May. Then we were released in August. That's what it takes to stay alive, I guess.
That's the business today. Writing has its up and downs, and, frequently now, its outs. It will take a little getting used to, but you come back. I freelanced after I quit the [Seattle] Times in 1991, and it proved to be a good thing, so I'm back at it—I left SW on good terms and plan to write some for them as well—and have some more books in the works.
P.S. I just updated my Amazon.com bio, adding the word "occasionally" to the last line. ("He writes occasionally for Seattle Weekly.")
FURTHER UPDATE: Mike Seely, the Weekly's editor in chief, writes:
I have been in touch with Rick and saw his response to you. I'd like to echo that his departure was on good terms and his byline will still appear in our pages quite frequently. In fact, he's working on a feature for September right now.
I asked Seely how many full-time writers he has left. He sent me a list of 11 people, including himself, who "are all full-time editorial (or very close to it)." I asked him whether, just like the VVM-owned paper in Minneapolis, the Seattle Weekly has received a bumped-up freelance budget as salaried reporters are being let go across the company. Seely replied:
Our freelance budget has indeed received a bit of a boost, certainly enough to keep Rick in circulation if he'd like to be—and he's given me every indication that he would. We will absolutely be able to continue with a staff this small. As for Rick's bit about he and Rubin, it's true that they're both departing the papers and were among our higher-salaried and tenured writers. But there were also several lightly tenured/lower paid writers who were let go or left other papers.