Monday, September 24, 2012

Tricia Romano on The Village Voice: "Put The Old Girl Down"

You know the Village Voice had irrefutably jumped the shark when it got into an ill-begotten feud with Ashton Kutcher.

Alternative papers, to put it frankly, are getting decimated by the web. The Village Voice, which has seen its circulation fall 40%—from about 247,000 to 149,000—since 2006, according to the WSJ. 2006 is, incidentally, the year that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the majority owners of Phoenix-based Village Voice Media Holdings, bought the Voice. And now it has been sold. I have to say that I agree with the sentiment at the apex of Tricia Romano's fabulous/epic Twitter rant this morning -- "put the old girl down" -- about the Village Voice, which is, essentially, dead.

Yes, there is the amazing Michael Musto, and yes, there is always Dan Savage -- but for all intents and purposes, the Voice is an empty husk of what it once was as a weekly. I have, of course, written about the Voice, with great melancholy. In July 2011 I wrote on this blog:
"After losing such stellar talent as Nat Hentoff, Jules Feiffer, Lynn Yaeger and Tom Robbins the paper was never quite the same. Still, even with the amazing Michael Musto, Freewill Astrology and even the decent Running Scared blog the paper is not navigating the new digital universe well."

Romano took to Twitter today, on the sale of the Voice, posting earlier today, during the course of a dozen or so tweets:

When Lacey and Larkin bought the (Voice) it was not a perfect paper; but it was pretty good. We had recently won a Pulitzer. The Pulitzer was for an 8 part series by Mark Schoofs about Aids in Africa. We still had a stable of the best film, music, book, and dance critics, possibly in the country. The biggest issue was that our covers/features were trending too national and were of a generic Bush-bashing sort. When Lacey and Larkin bought us, there was some hope that we'd become more locally focused and maybe more arts-focused. Everything we thought would happen, did not. Instead, they bought us and they hatefucked us. In no order of importance, they fired Robert Christgau, @therealedpark, chuck eddy, Laura Conaway ... Wayne Barrett, Mihn Uong ... They also fired Keisha Franklin, LD Beghtol, Nat Hentoff (NAT FUCKING HENTOFF), who was later rehired, Ted Keller, and more

"People who weren't fired, like @CharlesMcNulty @jerrysaltz, @BellucciPR and @Joypress found jobs elsewhere after seeing writing on the wall. Oh, yes, also fired: two great redheads: Elizabeth Zimmer and Lynn Yaeger ... Eventually, they fired me too ... When you read New Times took over the #villagevoice it doesn't tell the whole story. They destroyed it .."

read the full, melancholy, magnificent Twitter rant here.

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