For students seeking an alternative publication geared toward their interests in music and the arts, a new player in the New Haven weekly scene offers “the clear alternative.”

Founded by Matthew Ford, Benjamin Hecht and Jennifer Stockwell, the new paper, named Lucid, has just released its first two issues. The weekly is geared toward a young crowd with an interest in local entertainment and arts events.

“I saw a lack in coverage, an opportunity,” Ford said. “We’re looking to provide more of a focus on music, as well as a younger focus.”

Lucid’s coverage is devoted exclusively to music, film and the arts. The weekly caters to a broad range of tastes, with musical features ranging from an interview with rapper Jadakiss, in the inaugural issue, to an upcoming feature on a heavy metal group.

A core element of the founders’ vision for Lucid is heavy involvement from students at the 14 colleges in its coverage area, which includes greater New Haven, Middletown and Hartford. The publishers have already contacted journalism departments at many of these schools, and they are currently looking for student writers. Ford said he encourages students who are interested in being published to send in writing submissions online.

Written entirely by freelancers recruited through personal contacts, an online search, and local college journalism programs, Lucid is designed to offer a breadth of perspectives that differentiates it from other publications, Stockwell said in a press release.

“[Other papers] have only a few staff arts and music writers who, like all of us, tend to frequent the same local hangouts,” Stockwell said. “It’s limiting to your readers. We also believe life experience adds texture and credibility to our features and interviews, so we look for writers who can give us insight because they’ve been absorbed in it so personally for years.”

In the latest issue, published Sept. 16, a feature on indie films dominates the cover, while articles inside range from a review of the new Ali G DVD, to a complete horoscope, to listings for local live music, art, theater and film.

“Our goal is to have an active community,” Ford said. “We want to be seen as both a resource and an outlet for music and the arts.”

Guy Krug ’07 said he appreciated having Lucid as an alternative to the New Haven Advocate, currently the major local weekly publication.

“I think the layout’s really good,” Krug said. “I would read it. I wasn’t that impressed with the Advocate, so it’s good to have something else.”

But according to Ford, Lucid will not be in direct competition with the Advocate, since he said the two weeklies fill different niches in the market.

“We’re geared toward a younger audience than the Advocate,” Ford said. “We have more of a focus on the arts, including different, varied articles on the music scene. I don’t see the Advocate covering Jadakiss. I have great respect for the Advocate, but I saw an opening for a different alternative, and I went for it.”

Mark Oppenheimer ’96, the new editor of the New Haven Advocate, said he has not yet had a chance to read Lucid, but he welcomes the competition.

“I think New Haven should have more than one alternative weekly,” Oppenheimer said. “It’s a sign of vitality in a town that it has more than one weekly. It’ll sharpen us; it’ll force us to get better. I hope they stick around long enough to force us to get better but only as long as they’re getting better as well.”

As the paper’s target audience, students are likely to be the ultimate judges of how well Lucid succeeds in attracting a crowd that is young but educated.

“We’re going to keep it fun, interesting, and at the same time intelligent,” Ford said. “A lot of publications focused on a younger audience make it all about drinking and midriffs. We’re not going to dumb it down.”

Financed entirely by advertisements, Lucid is available for free. Students can pick up copies at New Haven coffee shops, the Yale Bookstore, or at a number of boxes scattered throughout downtown, including one on York Street.

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