09.24.12

Corporate vermin dump the Village Voice

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:50 pm by George Smith

Tricia Romano, once an editor at the Village Voice, has a Twitter story stream that succinctly described what Michael Lacey of New Times did to the New York altie when it bought the franchise in 2006.

It’s here.

Over the course of seven years, Lacey torched the place until, this weekend, the Voice was sold off to someone else:

Our parent company, Village Voice Media, has been sold to a group of the company’s editors and publishers in a deal that includes the Voice and our 12 sister publications across the country … In a letter to staff announcing the sale, VVM Executive Editor Mike Lacey says he and business partner Jim Larkin “never wished to be the last ones at this remarkable party.”

From 1999 to 2006 I wrote many things for the Voice, including a column on the Iraq war called Weapon of the Week, a cover story, essays and lots and lots of pop music reviews.

When Lacey bought the Voice, he and New Times minion proceeded to fire every editor in the place, naturally including all the people I had written for and pitched to.

The rancor towards them in Romano’s comments fairly reflects what was done to the place.


Under Lacey the Village Voice lost 40 percent of its readership, according to a digest news piece on the matter at Poynter.

Village Voice Media has lost advertising revenue over Lacey’s dual ownership of Backpage, an often sued site infamous for its sex-trafficking and hooker ads.

Lacey, reads the Poynter piece, will devote his time to defending Backpage.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The company split appears aimed at slowing an exodus of national and local advertisers from Village Voice Media in recent months.

In April, the drug company Pfizer agreed to remove its advertising from VVM’s flagship publication, the Village Voice, after pressure from activists who contacted advertisers directly about Backpage’s adult content.

In an April letter, Pfizer sent to a New York based-activist at the forefront of the campaign to pressure VVM to shut down Backpage, which the activist provided to Reuters, a Pfizer representative wrote “we received your inquiry, and Pfizer has decided to remove its advertising in the Village Voice.” Nearly a dozen similar letters from advertisers were provided to Reuters to show that the campaign has been effective.

American Airlines, Best Buy, AT&T, Ikea, H&M, IHOP, Macy’s and the Miami Dolphins professional football team have all stopped advertising in VVM publications in recent months.

Chalk up a small victory for Nicholas Kristof who had used his position and column at the New York Times to publicly shame the Voice over
Backpage.

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