The Village Voice, a storied progressive alt-weekly that has watchdogged New York’s political and business classes for more than half a century, is ending its print edition, its owner announced Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement is a symbolic blow for alternative weeklies across the United States, which have endured successive cuts and closures in recent years as print advertising revenue has dried up. The Village Voice, founded in 1955, is regarded as one of the first alt-weeklies and counts among its alumni crusading journalists and literary authors such as Wayne Barrett and Norman Mailer.
In a statement, Village Voice owner Peter Barbey said that The Village Voice’s website will remain intact and that The Voice “plans to maintain its iconic progressive brand with its digital platform and a variety of new editorial initiatives and a full slate of events that will include The Obie Awards and The Pride Awards.”
He called the decision to end the print edition necessary to secure its future.
“My family has been in the newspaper business for more than 200 years,” Barbey said. “I first read The Village Voice in print as a student in the 1970s — that was how I first encountered it and how it became as important to me as it did.”
“But the most powerful thing about the Voice wasn’t that it was printed on newsprint or that it came out every week,” he continued. “It was that The Village Voice was alive, and that it changed in step with and reflected the times and the ever-evolving world around it. I want The Village Voice brand to represent that for a new generation of people—and for generations to come.”
Alt-weeklies have weathered serious financial headwinds that have sapped their newsrooms and depleted their ranks. Several notable alternative publications, including The Boston Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Philadelphia City paper all folded in the last half-decade as decreasing revenue and circulation took their collective toll.
As news of the print edition’s closure began to circulate online, journalists began mourning The Village Voice’s legacy:
The Village Voice is ending its weekly print edition. End of a journalism era in New York City.
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) August 22, 2017
The reduction in New York City news coverage makes me sad. https://t.co/eFdFWXLRwV
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 22, 2017
This sucks. One of the biggest thrills early in my career was seeing my work on the cover. https://t.co/11Gk2zZsQg
— John W. Tomac (@johnwtomac) August 22, 2017
This just sucks https://t.co/N0R8Z76Ncj
— Pete Catapano (@pcatapano) August 22, 2017
Haven't seen a copy in years, but still feel sad at this news. https://t.co/bFUDusw5pg
— Steve Collins (@SteveCollinsSJ) August 22, 2017