‘The Village Voice’ Ends Publication, Marking an End of an Era for New York

August 31, 2018, 7:41 PM UTC
The skyline of midtown Manhattan in New York City as seen from the United Nations headquarters in New York
The skyline of midtown Manhattan in New York City is seen from the United Nations headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC125061C660
Brendan McDermid—Reuters

Marking the end of an era, The Village Voice, New York City’s famous alt-weekly paper, will stop publishing after more than 60 years, Gothamist reports.

Half the staff, which numbers 15 to 20 people, will be let go Friday, while the other half will stay on to archive Village Voice content online.

In an audio recording obtained by Gothamist, owner Peter Barbey is heard telling his staff, “Today is kind of a sucky day.”

“Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing Village Voice new material,” said Barbey. “I bought the Village Voice to save it. This isn’t exactly how I thought it was going to end up.”

Barbey bought The Village Voice from Voice Media Group in 2015, saying at the time that the publication deserved to “survive and prosper.” The paper went through a number of changes in editorial leadership the past couple years. Then in 2017, The Village Voice ended print publications, laying off over a dozen employees, while continuing to publish online.

Founded in 1955, The Village Voice was widely popular for its unique coverage and effusive presence in New York life. The publication covered arts, lifestyle, civil rights, politics, and more, while ownership transferred between New York Magazine, Rupert Murdoch, Leonard Stern, Village Voice Media, and finally, Barbey.

The paper was the launching pad for many in the journalistic industry over the years. According to The Wrap, it’s alumni include Ezra Pound; cartoonist Lynda Barry; art critics Robert Christgau, Andrew Sarris, and J. Hoberman; Allen Ginsberg; nightlife columnist Michael Musto; E.E. Cummings; Lester Bangs; Henry Miller; and James Baldwin.

In delivering the latest bad news, Barbey praised the work of the remaining staff. “You had amazing grit, to remain professional in doing what you’re doing and hanging in there to the end,” he said.

Village Voice news editor Neil deMause tweeted, “And pour one out for the Village Voice. It was a good run.”

In a tribute to the paper last year, The New York Times said the Village Voice was where “many New Yorkers learned to be New Yorkers” before Sex and the City. During its decades of production, the paper earned three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award.

Those in the journalism industry grieved the loss of the Village Voice on Twitter, one writer posting “It’s hard to even imagine New York without the Village Voice.”

In a statement by Barbey, posted by CNN, the paper’s owner wrote, “The Village Voice was created to give speed to a cultural and social revolution, and its legacy and the voices that created that legacy are still relevant today. … Although the Voice will not continue publishing, we are dedicated to ensuring that its legacy will endure to inspire more generations of readers and writers to give even more speed to those same goals.”