The Village Voice, Pushing 50, Prepares to Be Sold to a Chain of Weeklies By RICHARD SIKLOSPublished: October 24, 2005
The company that publishes The Village Voice and five other alternative newspapers is to announce today an agreement to be acquired by New Times Media, the largest publisher in the market. The deal would create a chain of 17 free weekly newspapers around the country with a combined circulation of 1.8 million. Establishing the Anti-Establishment The merger - coming in the same week as The Voice's 50th anniversary - will undoubtedly raise questions about whether The Voice and its siblings can preserve their anti-establishment roots as part of a growing corporation.
But in an increasingly rocky media landscape, an equally important question is whether conglomeration will give the chain - which would include LA Weekly, SF Weekly, Miami New Times and The Dallas Observer - the editorial and financial muscle to compete against free competitors, both online and in print.
James Larkin, the chairman and chief executive of New Times, said in an interview that the merger, unlike those in the broader newspaper industry, where consolidation has led to accusations of uniformity and boilerplate coverage, "allows us to get stronger and to have stronger content."
The most pressing issue raised by the deal is how it will play with antitrust regulators, with whom the merger partners have already had one run-in.
In 2002, the Justice Department charged New Times Media and Village Voice Media with illegal collusion and blocked a deal between them to shut down money-losing publications in Los Angeles and Cleveland.
As a result, those papers were sold to other publishers, and the companies signed a consent decree in 2003 that, while they admitted no wrongdoing, ensures that their planned combination will get plenty of regulatory scrutiny.
As part of that settlement, the companies agreed that any further deals over the next five years would have to be submitted to the government for approval. In any case, because of its size, the transaction would require approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976.
In addition, after an article speculating about the deal was published several months ago in a rival San Francisco weekly, the California attorney general's office put New Times on notice that it expected to be notified of any deal. Mr. Larkin described the consent decree as an albatross that stemmed from bad legal advice.
Although no money is changing hands, people involved to the merger said it valued the combined companies at about $400 million. The merged company, which will continue to use the name Village Voice Media, is effectively an acquisition by New Times, whose current shareholders will own 62 percent of the new company and hold five of nine board seats.
It will have revenue of roughly $180 million. Both companies are private and therefore do not publish their financial results, but Mr. Larkin said that the combined entity would be profitable and that, despite industry pressures, New Times had been increasing revenue and profit by single digits each year.
In 2000, the Voice chain was acquired by an investor group that includes David Schneiderman, a former editor, and various arms of the investment firms Goldman Sachs; Weiss, Peck & Greer; and Trimaran Capital Partners. None of the current investors are exiting as part of the merger, although Mr. Larkin said the expectation was that he and his partners would buy out the financial backers in five years.
Mr. Larkin is to be chairman and chief executive, and Michael Lacey, New Times's executive editor, is to continue in that role at Village Voice Media.
A trust controlled by Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey, who have been publishing partners since 1971, will hold 53 percent of the combined company's shares; they would be the largest individual shareholders within that trust. They have been backed in their efforts to assemble a chain of weeklies by Alta Communications, a private equity firm in Boston that currently holds 14 percent of New Times Media.
Mr. Schneiderman, who is currently Village Voice Media's chief executive, is to take a new position as head of the group's online efforts. Donald H. Forst, the editor of the Village Voice newspaper, will continue in his role once the deal closes. But Mr. Forst and all the Voice Media editors will now report to Mr. Lacey, rather than their individual publishers.
Mr. Lacey said the Voice papers are a good fit with New Times's crusading culture and emphasis on in-depth magazine-style coverage of local news, although observers noted that New Times had been deliberately apolitical and The Voice had been unstintingly left-leaning. Establishing the Anti-Establishment "I don't think it will have a negative impact on the content of the papers," said Jane Levine, a former publisher of The Chicago Reader who is now on the paper's board. "There may well be changes to the content of the papers being bought, and there will be people who think that they will be negative, in part because New Times doesn't endorse political candidates. If you think the loss of the endorsements is a big negative change, you won't be happy with this deal."
Another criticism of New Times has been the development of a consistent design that Mr. Lacey described as a template aimed at appealing to travelers, but he said The Village Voice would retain its logo and format.
The Village Voice newspaper, with its weekly circulation of 250,000, will be the flagship of the company as well as the national brand for a new alternative media Internet portal that the merged company is planning.
Generally, the alternative weekly format of melding provocative writing, serious arts coverage and extensive listings and classifieds has become unbundled by the Web. And readers of New Times and Voice papers, like those of all news media businesses, are spending more time online.
The online move that is meant to reposition The Village Voice as a national brand also represents the company's most immediate commercial challenge: the Voice's once-lucrative classified advertising business, unique in its size among all the papers in the new company, has been hampered by the success of the free ad site Craigslist.
Mr. Schneiderman said that the company was having a "fantastic year" relative to the daily newspaper industry, and that advertising categories other than classified ads were performing well at The Voice. "It's painful," he said. "We've lost millions of dollars of revenue to free online classifieds."
Part of the strategy to address that shortfall will involve integrating Village Voice Media papers with backpage .com, which is New Times's attempt to compete with Craigslist for free advertising.
Additionally, the papers are to become part of a broader effort to tap into national advertising through a New Times business called Ruxton Media Group, which sells marketing packages in print and online meant to appeal to the typically young tech-savvy readers of alternative weeklies.
Together, the merged companies' publications would represent roughly 25 percent of the 7.6 million in weekly circulation that the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies counts among its 126 North American members. But that total does not include the many rivals looking for the attention of those readers or a slice of the alternative weekly advertising pie.
Among them are the so-called faux alt weeklies produced by daily newspaper publishers; new giveaway dailies like amNew York; and online journalism sites like Slate and Salon.
The companies' filing under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act is subject to a 30-day government review period. The government could request additional information that might delay the deal's completion.
Mr. Lacey lamented that during that period he and Mr. Larkin would have to refrain from sharing specific plans with employees at Village Voice Media, a silence that he said would only enhance the perception they are the industry's bogeymen.
While acknowledging that the pending union will raise anxiety, both Mr. Larkin and Mr. Lacey said they hoped to be received as dedicated long-term proprietors after a string of unconventional owners of The Voice during the last two decades, including the media baron Rupert Murdoch, the real estate and pet-food mogul Leonard N. Stern and the current consortium of financial firms.
"I'm doing it because I love good journalism," Mr. Larkin said. "I want to have newspapers in the most exciting markets in the country. This is not a financial play."
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Monday, 24 October 2005 04:11 (fourteen years ago) link
― breezy, Monday, 24 October 2005 04:13 (fourteen years ago) link
― Hurting (Hurting), Monday, 24 October 2005 04:15 (fourteen years ago) link
― gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Monday, 24 October 2005 04:16 (fourteen years ago) link
Why so optimistic?
― Dave Segal (Da ve Segal), Monday, 24 October 2005 04:34 (fourteen years ago) link
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Monday, 24 October 2005 04:54 (fourteen years ago) link
― walter kranz (walterkranz), Monday, 24 October 2005 05:09 (fourteen years ago) link
― Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Monday, 24 October 2005 05:27 (fourteen years ago) link
― Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Monday, 24 October 2005 06:54 (fourteen years ago) link
― thousands of tiny luminous spheres (plebian), Monday, 24 October 2005 07:11 (fourteen years ago) link
― Theorry Henry (Enrique), Monday, 24 October 2005 07:41 (fourteen years ago) link
― awful bliss (awful bliss), Monday, 24 October 2005 08:08 (fourteen years ago) link
― Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 24 October 2005 11:02 (fourteen years ago) link
― Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 24 October 2005 11:49 (fourteen years ago) link
By Howard KurtzWashington Post Staff WriterMonday, October 24, 2005; C01
The nation's two largest alternative newspaper chains plan to announce a merger today, a long-rumored combination that champions of quirky, iconoclastic, locally controlled papers have been sniping at for months.
New Times, the Phoenix-based publisher with 11 newspapers from Miami to San Francisco, is acquiring the Village Voice, the storied New York weekly co-founded by Norman Mailer, and five other papers owned by the Voice.
New Times will export its brand of "desert libertarianism on the rocks, with sprigs of neocon politics," writes Bruce Brugmann, publisher of the rival San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Hogwash, says Michael Lacey, New Times's executive editor, insisting that "individual editors in individual cities determine the content of their papers week to week. . . . I wish there were more conservative writers at the papers. There aren't. There isn't anything imposed about the editorial viewpoint from Phoenix."
Reaction is likely to be chilly among many staffers at the notoriously fractious Voice, where columnist Cynthia Cotts described a 2000 acquisition attempt by New Times as a "hostile takeover" by a company whose media purchases produced a "signature bloodbath."
But David Schneiderman, chief executive of Village Voice Media, says the merger will give his papers a "national platform," particularly on the Web, an operation that he will oversee. While his staff will go through "a period of trepidation," Schneiderman says, "the resources of the combined company will strengthen us editorially." New Times executives, he says, "invest in editorial. This is what they're about. It's quite refreshing."
As for the notion that the fabled counterculture papers of yore are becoming more corporate, Schneiderman says: "The issue is, what's in the newspaper? I would challenge anyone who's critical of this to point to anything in our papers or the New Times papers that's establishment. It's flat-out not true."
Lacey says the merger of assets requires no cash. The 2000 deal had a purchase price of about $150 million, according to a source cited by the New York Times.
The planned acquisition will require Justice Department approval on antitrust grounds, since the combined company would control about 14 percent of the circulation of the major alternative weeklies nationwide. The department has clashed with both companies before. In 2002, New Times agreed to close its Los Angeles paper, which competed with Village Voice Media's L.A. Weekly, in exchange for the Voice shutting down its Cleveland paper, which did battle with New Times's Cleveland Scene.
Justice accused the companies of trying "to corrupt the competitive process by swapping markets, thereby guaranteeing each other a monopoly." The firms agreed in a consent decree to notify the department before any merger or shutdown. "We got bad legal advice," Lacey says.
That was not the only allegation of corporate excess; Brugmann's Bay Guardian has sued New Times on charges of predatory practices.
Alternative papers provide an outlet for colorful writing and muckraking local reporting -- as when Portland's Willamette Week revealed last year that former Oregon governor Neil Goldschmidt had sex with a 14-year-old girl three decades ago and paid $250,000 to hush it up. The 50-year-old Village Voice, which has had such prominent contributors as Jules Feiffer, Jack Newfield and Nat Hentoff, has won three Pulitzers, most recently in 2000 for coverage of AIDS in Africa.
Despite their liberal, anti-establishment pedigree, alternative weeklies such as New Times and Village Voice long ago became big business. They are free and stuffed with music and arts coverage, they rake in piles of cash from entertainment ads and personal classifieds. Village Voice Media is owned by a consortium of investment banks that beat out New Times five years ago.
"Perfectly good journalism is commercially viable," Lacey says. "You have to give them well-written, well-reported stories. We don't need focus groups. We knew damn well that good stories sell, not people doing raving opinion pieces about how outraged they are. Blogs have made it completely unnecessary to have alternative newspapers fulfilling that role."
No cash will change hands because the deal is structured as a merger, with New Times getting 62 percent of the equity (plus a 5-4 edge on the company's board) and Village Voice 38 percent. Jim Larkin, the chief executive of New Times, says the negotiations took 15 months and that the only job cuts he envisions are on the corporate staff. "Village Voice makes money," he says. "These are both plump companies."
Lacey founded Phoenix New Times with Larkin in 1970, when he was a college dropout who had to give blood to make ends meet. He says the chain -- which also owns papers in Houston, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis and Kansas City -- boosts the budgets of the weeklies it acquires, though he would not rule out job cuts at the Voice papers in an effort to boost profit margins.
New Times has won a slew of journalism awards. Mark Jurkowitz, media critic for the Boston Phoenix, wrote recently that the company is "known for being non-ideological." But Lacey concedes that the planned takeover will produce a "culture clash" at the Voice, "because people will resent someone coming in from the outside. It's always very disturbing." What's more, New Times is a non-union shop, while the Voice and L.A. Weekly have noisy unions.
In terms of sheer feistiness, the papers may not be that far apart. A Voice writer recently slammed President Bush's "cluster of neocons and religious nuts and military industrialists," adding: "We need to investigate Wampumgate, Kazakhgate, the oil-for-slush scandal, Plamegate, and all the rest -- we need to do it for the sake of our own democracy."
Phoenix New Times, meanwhile, was calling the Maricopa County sheriff "a modern-day J. Edgar Hoover . . . without the penchant for women's underwear" and accusing local media outlets of the journalistic equivalent of sexually servicing him.
To skeptics, a large company that serves both the 1.1 million readers of New Times and the 800,000 of Village Voice Media -- which also has papers in Seattle, Minneapolis, Orange County and Nashville -- is a giant step toward the corporatization of the alternative news world. But Lacey argues that "media concentration at our end of the business is a good thing because it allows us to compete effectively," and says he hopes to restore the Voice "to its glory days."
That may or may not happen. But the bastion of Greenwich Village liberalism was once owned by Rupert Murdoch for six years. "The joke was we were Poland and Murdoch was Russia," says Schneiderman, a 27-year Voice veteran. "The only question was when he would invade."
― curmudgeon, Monday, 24 October 2005 13:52 (fourteen years ago) link
― Pete Scholtes, Monday, 24 October 2005 14:04 (fourteen years ago) link
― geeta (geeta), Monday, 24 October 2005 15:25 (fourteen years ago) link
Village Voice writers' pay cut while music editor is on vacation
― Eppy (Eppy), Monday, 24 October 2005 16:45 (fourteen years ago) link
― gear (gear), Monday, 24 October 2005 16:50 (fourteen years ago) link
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 24 October 2005 22:10 (fourteen years ago) link
― fact checking cuz (fcc), Monday, 24 October 2005 22:54 (fourteen years ago) link
― geeta (geeta), Monday, 24 October 2005 23:18 (fourteen years ago) link
That said: ding dong, the Voice (as we know it) is dead. Or, "How the Central Scrutinizer toppled the Empire from an office in Denver."
― Chris O., Monday, 24 October 2005 23:32 (fourteen years ago) link
And yeah, hearsay about NT varies from "alright" to "nightmare", as Chris O. cogently pointed out... It will really depend on where on that scale an alt-weekly falls currently, as far as readership/competition/etc.
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Monday, 24 October 2005 23:46 (fourteen years ago) link
― miccio (miccio), Monday, 24 October 2005 23:53 (fourteen years ago) link
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 00:20 (fourteen years ago) link
― Are You Nomar? (miloaukerman), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 00:30 (fourteen years ago) link
― Banana Nutrament (ghostface), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 00:52 (fourteen years ago) link
― js (honestengine), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 00:58 (fourteen years ago) link
― Are You Nomar? (miloaukerman), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 01:53 (fourteen years ago) link
again, i don't expect to be terribly popular or persuasive -- here or anywhere, really -- for awhile. i merely wish to hack away at the New Times Seal-Clubbing Neocon Automaton rap we're inevitably gonna get. o'connor's right: it's a case-by-case, paper-by-paper situation, and some are better than others. (he's not the first guy to use the Drunk Dad metaphor, actually.) but that alone blows holes in the theory that we're gonna sire 17 papers with identical copy and only change the street names and sports teams. certain details (layout/movie reviews) aside, our papers now are each distinct, regional entities, and trust me -- i join you all in hoping to christ the VV papers stay exactly as they are in that regard. i want matos/sylvester/eddy exactly where they are, only more so.
― awful bliss (awful bliss), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 02:07 (fourteen years ago) link
that'd be an improvement since the voice killed their sports coverage ages ago.
― hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 03:38 (fourteen years ago) link
― awful bliss (awful bliss), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 03:46 (fourteen years ago) link
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 03:48 (fourteen years ago) link
New Times Media Buys Village Voice
By SETH SUTEL, AP Business Writer
New Times Media, the nation's largest publisher of alternative weekly newspapers, is buying the owner of the Village Voice and its five sister newspapers, creating a company with 17 weekly publications and a combined circulation of 1.8 million.
The new company will keep the Village Voice name but will be run by the two top executives of New Times Media, a Phoenix-based company with 11 newspapers, the companies announced Monday.
The deal creates a dominant player in the alternative newsweekly business with nearly a quarter of the industry's total circulation of 7.6 million, according to Richard Karpel, executive director of the Association of Alternative Weeklies, a trade group.
New Times shareholders will own 62 percent of the new company and Village Voice shareholders the remaining 38 percent. The board of the new company will also be made up of a majority of New Times directors.
New Times CEO Jim Larkin will run the new company, to be called Village Voice Media, and New Times executive editor Michael Lacey will be executive editor. Village Voice CEO David Schneiderman will oversee online operations.
Schneiderman said the combination would allow the newspapers to more effectively compete for national advertising and build up a bigger presence online, where newspapers face competition to their lucrative classified advertising business from free listings services like Craigslist.
The newspapers from the Voice group will be added to backpage.com, a free online classified advertising venture that is owned by New Times and was launched as an alternative to Craigslist.
The combined company would have overall revenues of about $180 million, Schneiderman said. He declined to disclose other financial details, noting that both companies are privately held, but he did say both were "comfortably profitable."
The Village Voice, with a free circulation of about 250,000, is one of the best known alternative weekly newspapers in the country. It was co-founded in 1955 by the novelist Norman Mailer, and has been owned at various times by magazine industry veteran Clay Felker; Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and the businessman Leonard Stern.
Under the new structure, the Voice's editor Donald Forst will continue in his current role but will report to Lacey, as will the editors of the Voice's five other weeklies in Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif.; Seattle, Minneapolis / St. Paul and Nashville.
New Times publishes in 11 cities including Phoenix, Cleveland, Houston, San Francisco, Miami and Dallas.
The absorption of the Voice and its sister newspapers into a larger company would do nothing to dampen their antiestablishment tone, Schneiderman said.
"We kept our finger firmly planted in the eye of the establishment when Murdoch owned us," Schneiderman said. "It's part of our genetic makeup."
The deal will be subject to federal regulatory approval. The two companies have run afoul of regulators before, and in 2003 settled charges of collusive behavior from the Justice Department after selling competing papers to each other in Los Angeles and Cleveland.
The deal had been expected, and has been the subject of much discussion in the alternative weekly industry. For smaller publications, the creation of a big company with newspapers in several large cities including New York, Miami and San Francisco could mean tougher competition for national advertising.
"I think there's a sense of resignation," said Brian Hieggelke, the publisher of the alternative weekly Newcity in Chicago. Hieggelke is also director of the board of a cooperative that sells national advertising for weeklies which competes with Ruxton Media Group, a similar business owned by New Times. As part of the deal, the Voice papers will become part of Ruxton's ad sales network.
"For people who aren't part of New Times or (Village Voice Media), the best case scenario is that it will be neutral for their business, but in many cases it will be a negative," Hieggelke said.
The Voice is currently owned by a group of investors including three private investment funds: one managed by Goldman Sachs; Weiss, Peck & Greer and the Trimaran Fund. None of those investors is exiting as part of the current transaction.
― geeta (geeta), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 03:57 (fourteen years ago) link
As for what's in store... Well, Westword, the New Times paper in Denver, has no book review section. And yes, Rob, I know that not all New Times papers are the same. Still, what does that tell you about these guys' priorities? Or, if you're interested, got to www.westword.com and type "TABOR" into the search engine, or "C and D" (what next week's ballot is going to be all about in Colorado), and follow the links, and see if you learn anything about it. Pitiful.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 04:47 (fourteen years ago) link
― maura (maura), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 04:51 (fourteen years ago) link
Xpost Xpost Xpost
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 04:59 (fourteen years ago) link
This is inelegant code for unfastening everyone who had an opinion in hard copy versus someone who will give you their opinion for free or pennies on the Internet. What's the difference, actually? Well, one's a rationalization and an excuse, the other's the justification for the rationalization and the excuse. It's just like every other newspaper manically seized by obsession and fear of/with content from the Internet. Most newspapers are going through or will go through this in 2005 or next year. Even though profitable, cuts are expected at the biggest because it's the way corporate does things.
And before the regrets and bad news there is always the parade of rationalizations about the Internet and nature of editorial content and its origin and how the changing world has dictated something bad but we're still dedicated to and will do great journalism because great journalism is great.
Of course, you follow this to its logical conclusion, you don't even need local editors over the next few years. You can ship raw copy instantaneously to Indonesia or any old ex-Brit empire country now a slave labor nation with high bandwidth telecomm connections to the net and get the product back to you before you get up in the morning. Hey, "The Internet had made it completely unnecessary to have workers at alternate newspapers fulfilling this role."
― George the Animal Steele, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 05:14 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 05:31 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 05:34 (fourteen years ago) link
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 05:51 (fourteen years ago) link
― Chris O., Tuesday, 25 October 2005 15:31 (fourteen years ago) link
― Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 15:47 (fourteen years ago) link
― curmudgeon, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 18:24 (fourteen years ago) link
We all have different opinions on who are the better or worse editors of these papers. (This isn't even relating to music editors, necessarily. This can be arts editors, food editors, film editors, political editors, CHIEF editors, etc.) Every paper has a combination of good and bad editors... some are overall better than others.
What this New Times buyout will do is essentially equalize the good and bad qualities of these papers. The shitty editors will have to shape up, and the good editors will be likely (and this depends on which delegate at the Denver/Phoenix Borg Central is assigned to whom) be told how to do things, when they don't need to be told how to do things.
All in all, this is sad, because while a lot of really bad sections might improve, a lot of great sections are likely going to be compromised, and I don't think anything will arise from this that will equal the greatness of the latter. These singular visions that were enjoyable sections are going to be less singular, and this is the sad part. But hey, cut-to-the-chase corporate visions aren't really interested in preserving uniquely great quality in certain spots.. they're interested in across-the-board profitability, even if it means the referendums are going to blemish the good spots, as well as improve the bad spots.
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 18:49 (fourteen years ago) link
― iDonut B4 x86 (donut), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 18:53 (fourteen years ago) link
― don, Tuesday, 25 October 2005 19:08 (fourteen years ago) link
― gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 19:09 (fourteen years ago) link
is that cover intentionally hideous?
― I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:26 (five years ago) link
My money is on either angry art director or incompetent intern
― my jaw left (Hurting 2), Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:16 (five years ago) link
It does have a slightly "break every design rule" quality to it, but not quite enough so to be "anti-aesthetic." It's weird to think someone actually went to the trouble to make that Statue of Liberty illustration -- wonder if it's modified clip art or something.
― my jaw left (Hurting 2), Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:18 (five years ago) link
― maura, Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:16 (five years ago) link
the sandwich one...
― the other song about butts in the top 5 (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:22 (five years ago) link
is it a drag SOL doing the Heisman?
― my jaw left (Hurting 2), Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:45 (five years ago) link
Peter D. Barbey, through his investment company Black Walnut Holdings L.L.C., bought the paper from Voice Media Group, which owns a string of weeklies around the country.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Mr. Barbey declined to discuss the details.
However, in an interview, he vowed to invest in the paper and once again make it relevant in the cultural life of New York City.
“I realize that The Voice has had a unique journalistic role in New York and the country as a whole,” Mr. Barbey, 58, said. “That deserves to survive and prosper.”
The paper, he said, was once an essential “voice of the arts and cultural community in New York.” While he will not take over full control of the paper until February, Mr. Barbey said he would focus first on bolstering its arts coverage — mainly by attracting top writers.
“Over the years it’s been known as a place that made writers’ reputations,” Mr. Barbey said. “If you were a good writer, you wanted to write for The Voice.”
“One of the biggest problems in media today is lack of attention to content,” he said. “Many publications have stripped their content.”
That will not happen under his watch, he said.
When asked about the financial resources he would devote to the paper, Mr. Barbey would not be specific but noted that his family’s wealth could be ascertained quickly through a Google search.
The Barbeys rank 48th on the Forbes list of America’s wealthiest families.
― it's not a tuomas (benbbag), Tuesday, 13 October 2015 13:06 (four years ago) link
hmanybody got some perspective on this?
― a literal scarecrow on a quaint porch (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 13 October 2015 13:25 (four years ago) link
Skeptics will abound, including some of those very Voice vets.
"You mean the Voice still exists?" Hoberman sniffed when asked for his thoughts on the sale. Seriously though: "Even if the new owners are inclined to spend money, they'll have a near impossible time restoring any credibility."
"Weeklies, accustomed to big reports without much of a time peg, seem to have had a particularly difficult transition to a mixed digital/print publishing model," Poynter Institute media analyst Rick Edmonds wrote on Monday. "Best case — Barbey will also infuse some money and editorial vitality into the Village Voice. But I wouldn’t look for a turnaround ... given how much the business base for the Voice and similar publications has deteriorated."
― curmudgeon, Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:05 (four years ago) link
i feel like you'd have to be very VERY rich to actually sink enough money into the VV to turn it around and not worry about the losses. is he that rich?
― wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 13 October 2015 22:28 (four years ago) link
The Barbey family, the 48th richest in America, according to Forbes — with a net worth of $6.1 billion — derives most of its fortune from a 20 percent stake in apparel maker VF Corp., maker of Lee, Wrangler and North Face apparel.
― a literal scarecrow on a quaint porch (forksclovetofu), Wednesday, 14 October 2015 03:13 (four years ago) link
― breaking kayfefe (s.clover), Thursday, 29 June 2017 21:23 (two years ago) link
The Village Voice is ending its weekly print edition. End of a journalism era in New York City.— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) August 22, 2017
― mookieproof, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 16:44 (two years ago) link
Village Voice ownership shutters paper, will continue it "as a brand" online and as "a host of new events, products and initiatives." https://t.co/HUu3C8yBXu— Nick Pinto (@macfathom) August 22, 2017
― mookieproof, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 17:07 (two years ago) link
― nomar, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 17:08 (two years ago) link
The Village Voice also published this. I feel reason #15, by @mgerber937, is one of the greatest jokes in history https://t.co/88NBsbMCt6 pic.twitter.com/bMLTEyi1SV— Jon Schwarz (@tinyrevolution) August 22, 2017
― ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 August 2017 19:57 (two years ago) link
Yeah this is sad. Yoko used to take out these cool full page ads, a couple in the last year or so, with photos of her and John and lyrics to songs or other things and I wonder if she'll continue this online and I'd guess not
― calstars, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 20:19 (two years ago) link
― curmudgeon, Monday, 28 August 2017 15:33 (two years ago) link
― Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 28 August 2017 16:01 (two years ago) link
I, for one, wish/hope someone/somewhere picks up Pazz & Jop and continues it.
― alpine static, Friday, 31 August 2018 17:13 (one year ago) link
"today is kind of a sucky day" jfc
― aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Friday, 31 August 2018 17:18 (one year ago) link
its been a long goodbye but it still hurts
― Hakim Bae's TMZ (s.clover), Friday, 31 August 2018 18:07 (one year ago) link
L.A. Weekly still creaking along w/me-first careerists sticking around for the new right-wing regime
― omar little, Friday, 31 August 2018 18:33 (one year ago) link
dumb question, i guess: why doesn't some liberal billionaire buy up all the papers that need help, install good managers, and be a hero?
i realize it's hard to hemorrhage money forever, but some people can afford it. why not hire the right people and tell them "hey, lose as little money as you can, please, but i've got your back. and also keep tinkering with new methods and content and who knows maybe you'll hit on something that helps in a big way."
this is what i would do if i had the money.
― alpine static, Friday, 31 August 2018 18:50 (one year ago) link
there's Jeff Bezos I guess
― aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Friday, 31 August 2018 18:58 (one year ago) link
he said liberal
― ▫◌▫ (sic), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:17 (one year ago) link
tbh after the print ed shut, i never looked at it unless i saw a link to a piece.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:19 (one year ago) link
by that definition "liberal billionaire" is an oxymoron
― aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:19 (one year ago) link
Wrote many times in the late '00s yet even with the superb editors who tightened my sentences (never forgot a PHONE line edit with Chuck Eddy in early 2006) there was already a sense in which the clock was ticking. I'm sorry I lived long enough to see this day.
― The Silky Veils of Alfred (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:22 (one year ago) link
I'm amazed our two alt-weeklies have survived the shrinkage since they had to stop running sex work ads - the Dallas Observer is a shell that runs a scattering of local political news and reprints national stories (from New Times, I guess?), the FW Weekly is even smaller but pretty left-wing, they've been running stories from local DSA people every so often.
― louise ck (milo z), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:28 (one year ago) link
― louise ck (milo z), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:29 (one year ago) link
I wrote a letter to the VV in the '90s about Public Enemy's homophobia (Flavor Flav's really), and someone phoned me to carefully line-edit that.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:35 (one year ago) link
I think it's safe to say that without the Village Voice I might never have achieved my dream of being a childless 37-year-old debt-ridden "critic's critic" with a niche social media presence and chronic knee pain RIP.— 𝕿𝖗𝖔𝖚𝖇𝖑𝖊 𝕰𝖛𝖊𝖗𝖞 𝕯𝖆𝖞 (@NickPinkerton) August 31, 2018
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 August 2018 19:57 (one year ago) link
I care somewhat, not much. The end of the print run seemed much more historically significant. But the online version meant there was still Pazz & Jop, and without that, I'll literally lose my final motivation (following the end of my "freelance" "career" and the implosion of a college radio station where I had a show) to keep up with new music.
Pleasure? I guess I could try that.
― clemenza, Friday, 31 August 2018 21:20 (one year ago) link
wasn't sure which thread to bump, but...
I know it was only a shadow of itself over the last several years, but the actual demise of the Village Voice makes me very nostalgic
It was the print publication that I cared about above all others in the 80s and 90s. there were so many great writers who contributed to it
― Dan S, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:47 (one year ago) link
oh I see this thread has already been revived!
― Dan S, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:48 (one year ago) link
This last (hopefully just latest) owner proclaimed that he intended to bring back the pre-New Times glory days, but I later read that he'd invested in extremely expensive real estate, a palace in the Village/ Also he busted or greatly impaired the union (the Voice had its own union). So a capital drain, talent drain (I know several people who made a point of avoiding the place/brand after that, though they all needed/need the work).I, for one, wish/hope someone/somewhere picks up Pazz & Jop and continues it.Maybe a GoFundMe? Too much for a labor of love, also too much for noobs.
― dow, Saturday, 1 September 2018 01:02 (one year ago) link
Maybe most of all a credibility drain? Other activities showing what his real priorities were (dude might've been lying to himself, even).
― dow, Saturday, 1 September 2018 01:08 (one year ago) link
I was there when Nat Hentoff cleaned his office. They filled dumpsters. I took a bunch of Philip Roth books that were left out. I learned that I hate Philip Roth.
― Yerac, Saturday, 1 September 2018 01:29 (one year ago) link
― Dan S, Saturday, 1 September 2018 01:42 (one year ago) link
VV died for me when Chuck E was fired, not sure I missed a lot
― President Keyes, Saturday, 1 September 2018 02:31 (one year ago) link
what would it really take to keep P&J going somewhere else?
- someone w/ time and/or $, plus motivation- a platform- VV's mailing list- some way to tabulate
am i missing something major?
― alpine static, Saturday, 1 September 2018 08:51 (one year ago) link
revive jackin' pop
― dyl, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:21 (one year ago) link
But the online version meant there was still Pazz & Jop, and without that, I'll literally lose my final motivation to keep up with new music.
this is kind of astonishing to me
― dyl, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:22 (one year ago) link
I'm an astonishing person.
― clemenza, Saturday, 1 September 2018 19:42 (one year ago) link
― The Great Atomic Power Ballad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 1 September 2018 21:28 (one year ago) link
I listen to hours of music most days, often completely new-to-me, but still expect the ILX annual tracks poll to point me in new directions for songs, movements and artists more than anything else during the year. clemenza otm.
― ▫◌▫ (sic), Saturday, 1 September 2018 21:51 (one year ago) link
That's it, dyl. I don't know how old you are, but, absent any professional obligations, I don't think it's that unusual to lose track of the plot in your mid-50s. Most everyone I know in my non-rock-critic life lost it in their early 20s. (I do get a lot of satisfaction out of putting together a year-end list with comments, though, so I'm just dumb enough to keep doing it for my homepage.)
― clemenza, Sunday, 2 September 2018 02:44 (one year ago) link
new music in the pop vein is generally not for me, i've heard enough. 90% of P&J was a mystery to me 10 years ago.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 2 September 2018 02:58 (one year ago) link
if they're so dead why do new articles keep showing up? admittedly they're all by the same person. and one of them's about jethro tull. stands to reason they'd finally get their due via dead voice.
― Thus Sang Freud, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 23:36 (one year ago) link