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R.I.P. The Village Voice, iconic alt-weekly shutting down after more than 60 years

on August 31, 2018, 3:50pm

After more than 60 years, Village Voice is shutting down.

As Gothamist reports, owner Peter Barbey made the announcement during a meeting with staff members this afternoon. “Today is kind of a sucky day,” said Barbey, who acquired the Voice in 2015. “Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing Village Voice new material [sic].”

Half of the staff is expected to be let go today, while the remaining employees will stay on to help “wind things down.”

New York City’s iconic alt-weekly was founded in 1955. Last summer, the paper officially ended its print edition due to financial problems. The enacted changes, however, ultimately weren’t enough to save the publication.

“In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realties facing those creating journalism and written media,” Barbey explained in an official statement. “Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.”

In the decades since its launch, the Voice has been operated under various ownerships, including New York Magazine and Rupert Murdoch. During his speech to staff members, Barbey indicated that he’d been considering selling the publication for some time in order to keep it afloat, as Gothamist points out. “I’ve been having conversations with other entities for months now… This is something we have to do — for some of them this is something we’d have to do before they could talk to us any further.”

Despite the shut-down, Barbey has remained optimistic about the Voice’s legacy, as preserved by its digital archive. “The Village Voice was created to give speed to a cultural and social revolution, and its legacy and the voices that created that legacy are still relevant today. Perhaps more than ever,” he stated. “Its archives are an indispensable chronicle of history and social progress… We have begun working to ensure that the enormous print archive of The Village Voice is made digitally accessible.”

Read Barbey’s full statement below.

Village Voice was especially impactful for its coverage of the New York City arts scene. It was the home for influential critics like Robert Christgau and J. Hoberman, moderated the annual Pazz & Jop music survey, and even staged its own 4Knots music festival.
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