Village Voice topper exits

The Village Voice, long considered one of the more influential champions for independent film and alternative theater, is in the process of a major leadership change. Jonathan Larsen, the New York-based weekly’s editor, resigned Feb. 9, and no successor has been named.

Staff members at the Voice suggested that there was no new editor waiting in the wings, but aside from the usual Gotham suspects like the New York Times’ Adam Moss, Mirabella’s Karen Durbin and the New York Observer’s Joe Conason, Time magazine essayist Barbara Ehrenreich has emerged as the name most frequently mentioned in the Voice newsroom as Larsen’s successor.

Both Larsen and the Voice’s publisher, David Schneiderman, could not be reached for comment.

Larsen, 54, has been rumored to be leaving the paper for several months. Last May, on the eve of bitter contract negotiation with his union staff, he all but alluded to his eventual leave-taking.

Larsen’s five-year tenure at the39-year-old paper was marked by a contentious relationship with the union newsroom. Since it is particularly difficult for a Voice editor to dismiss staffers because of union rules, he had little power over his often strong-willed journalists.

The son of former Time magazine president Roy Larsen, the editor was viewed by many staffers as a Park Avenue patrician who was at odds with the downtown newsroom’s rank and file.

This past fall, Larsen’s differences with the Voice’s press columnist, Doug Ireland, spilled over into the public eye.

The columnist left the paper in September after the feud between the two men became unbearable. According to sources close to Ireland, Larsen’s wife, Jane Amsterdam, blamed Ireland’s critical coverage of her editorship at the New York Post for her firing from the tabloid.

In a related story, film critic Manohla Dargis will soon leave the Voice to write movie reviews for L.A. Weekly.

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