Former Village Voice staffer Rosie Gray confirms what I’ve heard in recent weeks — that Village Voice Media has been quietly laying off editorial staffers at its papers around the country, including Phoenix, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
A correspondent recently emailed:
Gregory Pratt was laid off at City Pages in Minneapolis; Paul Rubin was laid off in Phoenix; Josh Dulaney in Orange County. In OC Weekly’s, the editor did a blog announcing the layoff. Paul’s was tweeted by an AZ Republic reporter. Some of these papers were already at bare bones staffing. Probably all. [Also, Rick Anderson was let go from Seattle Weekly last week after 15 years at the paper.]
Gray writes on BuzzFeed this morning that “the Voice, dying for so long, seems finally on the verge of actual collapse,” which “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.”
Of course, the Village Voice Media execs weren’t the only newspaper people who made “bad choices” in the mid-90s and gave away their content.
UPDATE: Former alt-weekly editor David Carr writes on Monday that the men running Village Voice Media aren’t killing the weeklies; the informational ecosystem is.
The problem with so-called alternative weeklies is that they were often formed in opposition to the daily newspapers in their respective markets, offering a spicier take on civic events and cultural coverage that reflected what was actually nascent in various places. With dailies limping in almost every American market and the listings and classifieds that were the bread and butter of weeklies now all over the Web, alternatives are just one more alternative among many.
* How management killed the Voice (buzzfeed.com) | Management *didn’t* kill it (nytimes.com)
* News of Village Voice layoffs goes public late Friday afternoon (observer.com)
* How low can City Pages go after laying off Gregory Pratt? (MinnPost.com)
* Phoenix New Times lays off veteran investigative journalist Paul Rubin (probably, not probably)
* “No real mystery as to why” OC Weekly laid off Josh Dulaney (ocweekly.com)
* Richard Tofel on how newspapers blew it in the mid-1990s (jimromenesko.com)