Village Voice Media

Village Voice parent company will explore sale of papers

Voice Media Group | OC Weekly

Voice Media Group has hired merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to help it determine what it calls “new strategies for its publishing assets,” which is the typical language used when companies put their papers up for sale.

Voice Media Group publishes The Village Voice, LA Weekly and The Riverfront Times, among other papers.

The firm will begin “immediately considering options” at the OC weekly, according to the announcement. Those options could include a sale or some sort of partnership opportunity.

Voice Media Group acquired the Village Voice and its properties in 2012, in a transaction with Village Voice Media.

Gustavo Arellano, editor of OC Weekly, writes that interested buyers stand to gain “a motivated band of misfits,” and adds that the paper takes payment in “in pho, pesos, dollars and I think Bitcoin.”

Here’s the announcement:

Santa Fe, NM – January 27, 2015 – Voice Media Group has engaged Dirks, Van Essen & Murray and its subsidiary CAL DVM to explore new strategies for its publishing assets, including the sale or acquisition of alternative publications and other digital businesses.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray will begin by immediately considering options at the OC Weekly, which could include the sale of the publication or a local partnership opportunity.

“We’re confident this will represent an extremely attractive opportunity for the right buyer or strategic partner,” said VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias. “We’ve been proud to own the Weekly for the past eight years, and we know it will continue to punch above its weight in the future.”

Since its founding in 1995, the scrappy Weekly has won dozens of journalism awards and established itself as the leading alternative voice in Orange County and Long Beach, serving more than 225,000 young, active readers with the region’s hardest-hitting investigative reporting and cultural commentary. Its irreverent and intelligent coverage includes the syndicated “Ask a Mexican” column by editor Gustavo Arellano, as well as the popular news blog “Navel Gazing” and spirited music, food and arts reporting.

This strategic planning is part of VMG’s long-range vision to fine-tune its portfolio. This process is likely to result in the diversification of more of its holdings, which include a fast-growing digital agency business and a national sales arm that serves 56 partner sites and publications with weekly print distribution of 3 million and 95 million page views per month.

“We continue to evaluate all of our properties while at the same time looking at new opportunities,” said Tobias. “We will be making moves that fit our business plan and that set our business up for the most success today and in the future.”

In addition to its affiliated digital properties, VMG publishes the Village Voice in New York, LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Miami New Times, the Houston Press, Phoenix New Times, City Pages in Minneapolis, the Dallas Observer, the Riverfront Times in St. Louis and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

Tobias went on to say that all communications regarding potential changes to the VMG portfolio will be handled by Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, who can be reached at 505-820-2700.

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Tom Finkel will edit The Village Voice

Riverfront Times Editor Tom Finkel will take over the top spot at the New York alt-weekly this summer, a press release says. The Voice’s previous editor, Will Bourne, resigned in May, telling The New York Times’ David Carr the paper’s owners had told him and another editor “to lay off, or drastically reduce the roles of, five employees on the 20-person staff.”

Full press release after the jump. Read more


Morning media roundup: Awaiting Philadelphia Media sale; men in suits discuss media

• The news everyone is waiting for: the sale of Philadelphia Media Network, which could happen today. Inquirer reporter Paul Nussbaum reported Thursday on an insurance payback deal orchestrated by George Norcross, one of the investors that may buy the company. He told Amy Chozick and David Carr that the possible sale “won’t change the way I do my job.” Well, “it could change my job, I guess. I could end up as greeter at Walmart next week.”

• Dudes in suits discuss media: That happened Thursday, as Ken Auletta, Walter Isaacson and Marcus Brauchli appeared at an Aspen Institute event called The Future of Content 2020. Here’s a video. Part of my job is blogging about the future of content, so I watched only as far as Brauchli talking about the future of a new Washington Post product called Personal Post: “Ideally what we’d like to be able to do is give people who are interested in that, a front page of content that they’re most likely to be interested in based on their past habits or what they’ve told us they’re interested in or, including, what their friends are interested in.” I’m sure some nuggets from this thing will pop out today.

• The New York Police Department’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information, accidentally CC’d instead of BCC’d its press list, giving Jake Dobkin a chance to analyze who’s on it: “there were only 3 email addresses for bloggers, internet-only outlets, and similar publications- Gothamist, Patch, and DNAInfo.”

DC Porcupine scours new Washington Post managing editor John Temple’s blog for instances of him criticizing the paper and finds him taking a swing at media writer Paul Farhi in 2009, saying Farhi “resorts to generalizations about bloggers that wouldn’t make it past any good newspaper editor.”

Protesters gathered outside the Village Voice’s offices in New York on Thursday to deliver a petition denouncing its, which some have linked to sex trafficking. John Buffalo Mailer, son of Voice co-founder Norman Mailer, spoke at the rally. Village Voice Media is based in Phoenix, but good luck getting this kind of coverage there. Read more


Village Voice responds to religious leaders’ complaints about

Seattle Times | | Groundswell Movement

Dozen of religious leaders are calling on Village Voice Media to stop taking adult ads on, because of child-sex trafficking that police link to the classifieds. In a full-page ad in Tuesday’s New York Times, the “moral and religious leaders of many creeds and backgrounds” tell Village Voice’s board members and CEO that “we trust that your company shares our outrage over the sex trafficking of minors. While we empathize with your business challenges and the increasingly difficult marketplace in which Village Voice Media competes, we trust that you are committed to running your business without compromising the lives of our nation’s girls and boys.” Village Voice Media says in its response:

The religious coalition demanded that we close down our legal, adult classifieds.

Neither government officials nor God’s advocates can dictate such arbitrary control of business or speech.

In August, this same religious coalition asked for a confidential meeting regarding We readily agreed. As we prepared to share our information, we were informed that only four members of the coalition would attend.

Village Voice Media then offered to fly, at our expense, all members of the clerical delegation to New York for the conference.

The Voice says “Backpage has spent millions of dollars and dedicated countless resources to protecting children from those who would misuse an adult site. …Complicated issues require sophisticated solutions, not PR flurries.” Read more


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