Village Voice Media owners sell their weeklies, but keep Backpage.com

Michael Lacey, 64, and Jim Larkin, 63, are selling Village Voice Media’s 13 alt-weeklies to a group of Voice employees for an undisclosed amount.

“It’s painful thinking about selling something you created with blood, sweat and tears, but it’s much less painful to sell it to your peers,” Lacey tells the Arizona Republic.

Lacey and Larkin will keep Backpage.com, the lucrative and controversial adult-ads site.

The Atlantic Wire’s Dashiell Bennett notes:

There have been numerous allegations that Backpage ads have been used by pimps to sell underage prostitutes and sex trafficking victims. The adult ads has been extremely lucrative — over $3 million a month according to Reuters — but their controversial nature has been an unwelcome “distraction” that threatened the existence of the newspapers themselves.

Scott Tobias, who is CEO of the new Denver-based company, Voice Media Group, had been Village Voice Media Holdings’ chief operating officer. Christine Brennan, longtime Voice Media executive managing editor, becomes executive editor.

* Village Voice Media owners sell their papers, keep Backpage.com (azcentral.com) | (wsj.com) | (forbes.com) | (theatlanticwire.com) | (press release via Westword)

More Monday links:
* Patch redesign turns it into a more social, user-driven service. (streetfightmag.com) | (paidcontent.org)
* Atlantic owner: “It’s become very, very clear to me that digital trumps print.” (nytimes.com)
* Reaction on Twitter to NYT’s new quote approval policy. (storify.com)
* Washingtonian mag keeps the Brauchli-on-the-way-out rumor alive. (washingtonian.com)
* Fortune changes its iPad strategy with a new “freemium” edition. (adage.com)
* Google News turns 10, now “algorithmically harvests” articles from more than 50,000 news sources. (theatlantic.com)
* Facebook shares are only worth $15, according to Barron’s. (barrons.com)
* A very public breakup for a Politico couple. (mediabistro.com)
* Poynter’s Tampa Bay Times “has some serious egg on its face.” (saintpetersblog.com)

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