A newspaper or magazine that is a smaller alternative to more mainstream, "credible" papers. It's often local, providing inside dirt on things going on in a particular city or area. Sometimes, such as in the case of The Onion
, it's published online (however, the Onion is satire as opposed to an actual news source). Some things reported in these papers are not taken seriously, but they often cover important stories bigger papers won't touch. Often liberal in nature, they will also often publish some awesome comics such as Tom Tommorow's "This Modern World
" or Derf's "The City." However, these papers, are not meant for a family audience. While usually free, they pay for this by running a lot of sex ads and other inappropriate stuff.
"I wanted to find out about some local bands and read "The City", so I got a free copy of my local altie newspaper."