The Village Voice has been silenced.
Owner Peter Barbey announced Friday that the Pulitzer Prize-winning alternative newspaper will cease publication and will lay off half of its staff. The remaining staff will remain employed long enough to “wind things down” and to work on a digitally accessible print archive. The paper is the latest casualty of the collapse of print media, brought low by the decline of the classified ads that once formed the backbone of local publications like the Voice.
It has been a devastating few years for alt-weeklies like the Voice — the New York Observer became online-only in 2016, the Boston Phoenix was shuttered in 2014, and the L.A. Weekly has endured one round of layoffs after another. Other print media icons have been struggling of late. Conde Nast has instituted deep staffing cuts and Hearst is rumored to be about to kick off a new wave of blood-letting.
Founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer, the Voice quickly established itself as an edgier, more writer-driven take on Gotham life and the goings on around the other boroughs. It also hosted a number of journalism giants in its decades in print, including political essayist Ellen Willis, indefatigable nightlife chronicler Michael Musto, and Wayne Barrett, an investigative reporter and frequent thorn in Trump’s side.
“As the first modern alternative newspaper, it literally defined a new genre of publishing,” said Barbey in a statement announcing the closure. “As the Voice evolved over the years, its writers, editors, reporters, reviewers, contributors, photographers, artists and staff were united by the idea that they spoke for and fought hard for those that believed in a better New York City and a better world.”
The Voice ended its free print edition last year. Barbey, the scion of a wealthy family with holdings in textiles and apparel, bought the paper in 2015.