By the time you read this I'll be in San Diego, a stone's throw away from Tijauana. I'm flying down to attend our annual newspaper convention for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, an organization of almost 200 papers like this one across the nation. You may have seen them in other cities in your own travels: the Village Voice, the LA Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Once a year the publishers, editors, art directors and advertising managers from quite a few of these publications gather to swap tales, learn from each other's experiences over the past year and, most importantly, socialize. During this "socialization," we typically discuss plans to take over the world and how to fight against big corporate media threats to independent journalism.

This year, I'm involved perhaps more than I want to be. Apparently I'm running for a seat on the board, participating in the membership committee and moderating a seminar. I'll be a busy boy.

Last week, I got an e-mail from the boycott coordinator for the chapter of the UNITE HERE! Local 30 union of hotel workers. They informed me of a "rolling" strike at several hotels in Southern California, including the one where the AAN convention is being hosted. This may prove to be an ironic challenge to a newspaper industry that has traditionally sided with unions and labor. At the least, it will provide for some lively discussions among the convention attendees during "socialization."

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