Village Voice on the Verge of Demise?
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High drama befell the Village Voice this past Friday – four editorial staffers were axed from the iconic weekly newspaper and plans are reportedly afoot to move from the East Village HQ. BuzzFeed writer Rosie Gray, herself a veteran of the longstanding East Village enterprise, penned an excellent personal piece about the situation over the weekend. Looks like the final stop on this train might not be too far away…
At the Voice, people found out the hard way. They tried to log onto their accounts and couldn’t. This happened to blogger Victoria Bekiempis and to reporter Steven Thrasher, who still hadn’t spoken with his boss when I called him at 5:30 Friday evening; he learned the extent of the news through texts and tweets, he said. It was a harsh way to go, but fit what the Voice has become.
In the wake of this most recent bloodbath, the Voice now carries only one news blogger, two features writers, a music editor, some listings writers, and food critics. If invisible before, the writing is certainly on the wall now in bold lettering.
The new crew shouldn’t take all the blame. The slide began in earnest with a series of bad choices the mid-‘90s, when the decision was made to give away the paper for free without a clear idea of what changes the Internet would bring.
These “bad choices” led to a slump during the early Aughts, and in 2005, the New Times conglomerate purchased the embattled paper. Controversy ensued earlier this year around its ownership of Backpages.com, the online equivalent of the notorious classifieds in the Voice of yore that developed a rep for being a place for child sex traffickers.
The Voice, as marginalized and irrelevant as it has become, really was the Voice of the city and of a certain kind of New Yorker. It was insouciant and jubilant, with sharply reported city politics pieces sitting next to art house movie reviews and sex ads. The afterglow of that leaves an impression on those of us who worked there, even if you’re like me and were born well after the Voice’s heyday.
Check out the full piece over at BuzzFeed.