Monday, April 28, 2003

It's Back

Even before it makes its re-debut in print, the Free Times website and, crucially, its archives, have now been restored to their proper place. You'll recall, perhaps, that the site and all the stories collected there vanished (via a redirect to the Scene website) just moments after the big bad New Times swept in as the acquirer, in that now-infamous restraint-of-trade deal that smelled so bad that even the ordinarily nose-plugged Ashcroft Justice Department recognized something was wrong. Among some folks who follow these kinds of things, the erasure of the database of previous stories was even more outrageous than the closing of the print paper.
You won't find the entire 10 years worth of stories on the restored site. The F.T. redesigned its site in 1999, and never did manage to migrate its archives from 1992 till that point onto the current database (a future project for a team of interns?). Still, you'll find plenty worth grazing for. A search for Roldo yields 231 entries (although there are plenty of duplications) and Eric Broder (click All Titles, and look for The Great Indoors) lovers will find almost as many entries for their boy. Amy Sparks fans will need to be a little more creative to find her stuff. (Try to enter just Sparks in the search box).
But for fans of the writer's writer John Hyduk, thought by some to be among the very best scribblers still working in Cleveland, the restored database is a godsend. If you never managed to save the paper version of some of his greatest hits, you can fire up the PC and revel again in his May 2001 cover story on writer Scott Raab or his '99 story, 24 Hours in the Justice Center.
We'll see how the restored print pub looks soon.
In the meantime, I've written an ode to the F.T.'s forerunner, the Cleveland Edition, for the May issue of Northern Ohio Live. Among other things, it's a long-overdue homage to my friend and mentor, Bill Gunlocke. Alas, NOL is another pub that doesn't put much of itself on the web...


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