This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Baltimore City Paper" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
City Paper
June 23, 2010 cover of the City Paper
TypeAlternative weekly
Owner(s)Baltimore Sun Media Group
(Tribune Publishing)
PublisherTrif Alatzas
EditorBrandon Soderberg
Ceased publication2017
Headquarters501 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21278
United States
Circulation52,000 (as of May 2016)[1]

Baltimore City Paper was a free alternative weekly newspaper published in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, founded in 1977 by Russ Smith and Alan Hirsch. The most recent owner was the Baltimore Sun Media Group, which purchased the paper in 2014 from Times-Shamrock Communications, which had owned the newspaper since 1987. It was distributed on Wednesdays in distinctive yellow boxes found throughout the Baltimore area. The paper folded in 2017, due to the collapse of advertising revenue income to print media.[2] The Media Group's closure announcement happened at the same meeting immediately after recognizing City Paper staff joining the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.[3]


Russ Smith and Alan Hirsch started the Baltimore City Paper in May 1977 while students at Johns Hopkins University. It was originally named the City Squeeze, and Smith and Hirsch published it using the offices of the Johns Hopkins student newspaper. In 1978, they took the paper out of the university and started publishing it as the Baltimore City Paper. Smith said that he viewed the paper as an alternative weekly similar to the Chicago Reader and the Boston Real Paper. The paper was free, except for a time between 1979 and 1981, where they charged 25¢ per issue. Charging a fee turned out to be mistake, as most of the paper's income came through advertising revenue and the fee led to a precipitous drop in circulation, and consequently advertising revenues.[4]

It was best known for providing information on clubs, concerts, theater, and restaurants, but each issue also has one major article on a subject not usually being carried by the mainstream media. In each issue there are also several political and advice columns and numerous cartoons including the weekly comic Dirtfarm by Ben Claassen III.

The last issue was released on November 1, 2017.[5] The Baltimore Beat started after.[6][7]

Notable stories

The City Paper broke several important stories[which?] in the Baltimore area, including a plagiarism scandal involving longtime Baltimore Sun columnist Michael Olesker.[citation needed] It also presented the Best of Baltimore awards every year, in which various local businesses, attractions, and aspects of Baltimore, Maryland were highlighted.[citation needed]

In the summer of 2013, Times-Shamrock Communications announced its intention to sell off all of its alternative newspapers outside Pennsylvania, including the City Paper. In February 2014, the Baltimore Sun Media Group announced it had reached an agreement to purchase the Baltimore City Paper, with the sale to close in March 2014.[8]

Notable writers


  1. ^ "Alliance for Audited Media Snapshot Report – 6/30/2013". Alliance for Audited Media. June 30, 2013. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Margaret (23 July 2017). "The Atlantic is 'most vital when America is most fractured.' Good thing it soars today". WashingtonPost. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  3. ^ Woods, Baynard. "As Baltimore City Paper faces the reaper, stakes mount for alt-weeklies," Columbia Journalism Review, Thursday, July 27, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2020
  4. ^ Kauffman, Zach. "The Changing Face of Journalism". Young Money. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
  5. ^ "City Paper reflections," Baltimore City Paper, November 1, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2020
  6. ^ "After City Paper, Baltimore Beat Aims to Build a More Diverse News Outlet – Editor & Publisher". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  7. ^ "After City Paper, Baltimore Beat aims to build a more diverse news outlet". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  8. ^ Baltimore Sun Media Group to buy City Paper
  9. ^ Smith, Russ. "Pictures of You (#3)". Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  10. ^ Smith, Russ. "When Baltimore's Leon Pig Ruled". Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Lidz weaves a tale of family, life on fringes", 02.19.91 – Baltimore Sun
  12. ^ "Odds are, these guys are real characters", 09.21.95 – Baltimore Sun
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)