Los Angeles Free Press

Los Angeles Free Press

"The Los Angeles Free Press" (often called “the Freep” and "the LAFP") was among the most widely distributed underground newspapers of the 1960s. It is often cited as the first such newspaper. The "Free Press" was edited and published weekly, for most of its existence, by Art Kunkin. The paper initially appeared as a broadsheet, in 1964, at the annual Southern California Renaissance Faire. At this time it was entitled "Faire Free Press". In 1965 it became the "Los Angeles Free Press".

This newspaper was notable for its radical politics when such views rarely saw print. This was a new kind of journalism at that time. People were tired of “The Big Lie” and the way ‘news’ was being brought to them, edited as to tell the story of how well our government was working in their behalf.

The "Free Press" saw itself as an advocate of personal freedom as well as a vehicle to aid in the anti-war Vietnam publication. With its readership, particularly readers ready to sit, march, and sing, The Los Angeles Free Press is given degrees of credit for the ending of the Vietnam War. Its coverage and how it became a touchstone for the activists both everyday and celebrity.

The "Free Press" wrote about and was often directly involved in the major historic issues and people of the 60's & 70's such as the Chicago 7 Trial, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman. Both the famous and the infamous would open up to the Los Angeles Free Press from Bob Dylan, to the Black Panthers, to Jim Morrison to Iceberg Slim.

People were willing to pay twenty-five cents for the "Free Press", even though readers could get mainstream dailies such as the "Los Angeles Times" for ten cents back then. The cry at the corner was "Don’t be a Creep, Buy a Freep!" The scene was so unique to Los Angeles, that in the movie "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas", Peter Sellers (when he sees the light and converts from lawyer to hippie) is hawking them, as well.

The paper also pioneered the emerging field of underground comics by publishing the “underground” political cartoons of Ron Cobb. The "Free Press" was a founding member of the Underground Press Syndicate. It was the impetus for a network of 600 community, student and alternative newspapers throughout the United States. [Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith, "Criticism "Lighting His Fire": Perspectives on Jim Morrison from the "Los Angeles Free Press", "Down Beat", and "The Miami Herald" (master's thesis, Interdepartmental Program in Liberal Arts, Louisiana State University, 2007). Available at "http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-11162007-105056/".]

Author Charles Bukowski wrote the column "Notes of A Dirty Old Man" for the Los Angeles Free Press beginning in 1969.

In 1970, much of the newspaper's staff and then editor Brian Kirby left the paper due to financial and editorial differences. The team began a competing newspaper, "The Staff."

The new "Free Press" (2005–2008)

On 13 September 2005, the premier issue of a revived "Los Angeles Free Press" was distributed. It embodied many of the same ideals and beliefs and was again spearheaded by Art Kunkin, albeït with an entirely new staff.

The "Free Press" maintains an independent view; It covers politics, health (including natural and/or holistic), spirituality, literature, media, food, and community issues. The paper has taken a stand against the Iraq War. Most recently The Los Angeles Free Press gave Tom Hayden a lifetime achievement award for his efforts as an activist both in his private life and during his 18 years in politics.

"Los Angeles Free Press" was being published as a catalyst for social change. The mission statement of Los Angeles Free Press is to be "a true alternative to "Corporate-Controlled Media". The basis of the paper is that names and the locations have changed, but the issues concerning personal rights and the action of an unjust war, are the same as during the Vietnam War era.

The print version was being published in the original five-column format with the “screamer” headlines of old includes both current and vintage content in both the articles and ads. The look of the paper was true to its original format.

Steven M. Finger became the publisher of the LA Free Press in Late 2006/Early 2007. Finger also owns and manages AP&G, the marketing arm of the Los Angeles Free Press.Fact|date=April 2008(See www.LosAngelesFreePress.net as well as www.apandgonline.com)

For a time the "Freep" under Finger was printing editions with a small local distribution in the Los Angeles, California and there was an [http://www.dareland.com/freep/ online version] .

By the summer of 2007, the "LA Free Press" was beginning a decline and no longer distributed print editions to newstands and other locations, instead it was only available at the occasional events and online.

By fall of 2007, printing of issues was at a complete stop and only the online version was available.

In 2008 the online version stagnated and there has been very little new content.

"LAFP" Staff
* Founding Publisher & Editor: Art Kunkin
* Publisher: Steven M Finger
* Editor: Michael Dare
* Production: Debbie Finger
* Webmaster: Debbie Finger
* Managing Editors: Kristy Cardamone & Dr. Karen TracyAP&G: The Exclusive Advertising Sales Agent for The Los Angeles Free Press


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