The Village Voice
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid
Founder Ed Fancher
Dan Wolf
John Wilcock
Norman Mailer
Founded Oct. 26, 1955
Ceased publication Aug. 31, 2018
Headquarters 80 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
Circulation 120,000 (2016)
ISSN 0042-6180
Official website Script error
File:Lozupone vvoice.png
File:Hentoff bio.jpg

The Village Voice was an American news and culture paper, known for being the country's first alternative newsweekly. Founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, John Wilcock, and Norman Mailer, the Voice began as a platform for the creative community of New York City.

Over its 63 years of publication, The Village Voice received three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award. The Village Voice hosted a variety of writers and artists, including writer Ezra Pound, cartoonist Lynda Barry, and art critics Robert Christgau, Andrew Sarris, and J. Hoberman.

In October 2015, The Village Voice changed ownership and severed all ties with former parent company Voice Media Group (VMG).[2] The Voice announced on August 22, 2017, that it would cease publication of its print edition and convert to a fully digital venture, on a date to be announced.[3] The final printed edition, featuring a 1965 photo of Bob Dylan on the cover, was distributed on September 21, 2017.[4]

After halting print publication in 2017, the Voice provided daily coverage through its website until August 31, 2018, when it announced it was ceasing production of new editorial content.[5]


Early historyEdit

File:1955 October cover The Village Voice.jpg

The Village Voice was launched by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, and Norman Mailer[6] on October 26, 1955, from a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village; that was its initial coverage area, which expanded to other parts of the city by the 1960s. In 1960, it moved from 22 Greenwich Avenue to 61 Christopher Street in a landmark triangular corner building adjoining Sheridan Square, and a few feet west of the Stonewall Inn;[7] then, from the 1970s through 1980, at 11th Street and University Place; and then Broadway and 13th Street. It moved to Cooper Square in the East Village in 1991, and in 2013, to the Financial District.[8]

Early columnists of the 1950s and 1960s included Jonas Mekas, who explored the underground film movement in his "Film Journal" column; Linda Solomon, who reviewed the Village club scene in the "Riffs" column; and Sam Julty, who wrote a popular column on car ownership and maintenance. John Wilcock wrote a column every week for the paper's first ten years. Another regular from that period was the cartoonist Kin Platt, who did weekly theatrical caricatures. Other prominent regulars have included Peter Schjeldahl, Ellen Willis, Jill Johnston, Tom Carson, and Richard Goldstein.

For more than 40 years, Wayne Barrett was the newspaper's muckraker, covering New York real estate developers and politicians, including Donald Trump. The material has become a valuable resource for reporters covering the president today.[5]

The Voice has published investigations of New York City politics, as well as reporting on national politics, with arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews. Writers for the Voice have received three Pulitzer Prizes: in 1981 (Teresa Carpenter),[9] 1986 (Jules Feiffer)[10] and 2000 (Mark Schoofs).[11] The paper has, almost since its inception, recognized alternative theater in New York through its Obie Awards.[12] The paper's "Pazz & Jop" music poll, started by Robert Christgau in the early 1970s, is released annually and remains an influential survey of the nation's music critics. In 1999, film critic J. Hoberman and film section editor Dennis Lim began a similar Village Voice Film Poll for the year in film. In 2001, the Voice sponsored its first music festival, Siren Festival, a free annual event every summer held at Coney Island. The event moved to the lower tip of Manhattan in 2011, and was re-christened the "4knots Music Festival", a reference to the speed of the East River's current.[13]

The Voice was known for its staunch support for the civil rights of gays, and it published an annual Gay Pride issue every June. However, early in its history, the newspaper had a reputation as having an anti-homosexuality slant. While reporting on the Stonewall riots of 1969, the newspaper referred to the riots as "The Great Faggot Rebellion".[14] Two reporters, Howard Smith and Lucian Truscott IV, both used the words "faggot" and "dyke" in their articles about the riots. (These words were not commonly used by homosexuals to refer to each other at this time.) Smith and Truscott retrieved their press cards from the Voice offices, which were very close to the bar, as the trouble began; they were among the first journalists to record the event, Smith being trapped inside the bar with the police, and Truscott reporting from the street.[15] After the riot, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) attempted to promote dances for gays and lesbians in the Voice, but were not allowed to use the words 'gay' or 'homosexual', which the newspaper considered derogatory. The newspaper changed its policy after the GLF petitioned it to do so.[16] Over time, the Voice changed its stance, and, in 1982, became the second organization in the US known to have extended domestic partner benefits. Jeff Weinstein, an employee of the paper and shop steward for the publishing local of District 65 UAW, negotiated and won agreement in the union contract to extend health, life insurance, and disability benefits to the "spouse equivalents" of its union members.[17]

The paper is mentioned in the musical Rent during the song La Vie Boheme. The line states "To riding your bike midday past the three piece suits, to fruits, to no absolutes; to Absolut; to choice; to The Village Voice, to any passing fad."

The Voice's competitors in New York City include New York Observer and Time Out New York. Seventeen alternative weeklies around the United States are owned by the Voice's former parent company Village Voice Media. The film section writers and editors also produced a weekly Voice Film Club podcast.[18]

In 1996, after decades of carrying a cover price, the Voice switched from a paid weekly to a free, alternative weekly. The Voice website was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s Online Journalism Award in 2001[19] and the Editor & Publisher EPpy Award for Best Overall U.S. Newspaper Online Service – Weekly, Community, Alternative & Free in 2003.[20]

In 2005, the Phoenix alternative weekly chain New Times Media purchased the company and took the Village Voice Media name. Previous owners of The Village Voice or of Village Voice Media have included co-founders Fancher[21] and Wolf,[6] New York City Councilman Carter Burden,[6] New York Magazine founder Clay Felker, Rupert Murdoch, and Leonard Stern of the Hartz Mountain empire.

Acquisition by New Times MediaEdit

Template:Wikinews After The Village Voice was acquired by New Times Media in 2005, the publication's key personnel changed. The Voice was then managed by two journalists from Phoenix, Arizona.

In April 2006, the Voice dismissed music editor Chuck Eddy.[22] Four months later, the newspaper sacked longtime music critic Robert Christgau. In January 2007, the newspaper fired sex columnist and erotica author Rachel Kramer Bussel; long-term creative director Ted Keller, art director Minh Oung, fashion columnist Lynn Yeager and Deputy Art Director LD Beghtol were laid off or fired soon after. Editor in chief Donald Forst resigned in December 2005. Doug Simmons, his replacement, was sacked in March 2006 after it was discovered that a reporter had fabricated portions of an article. Simmons' successor, Erik Wemple, resigned after two weeks. His replacement, David Blum, was fired in March 2007. Tony Ortega then held the position of editor in chief from 2007 to 2012.

The sacking of Nat Hentoff, who worked for the paper from 1958 to 2008, led to further criticism of the management by some of its current writers, Hentoff himself, and by the Voice's ideological rival paper National Review, which referred to Hentoff as a "treasure".[23][24] At the end of 2011, Wayne Barrett, who had written for the paper since 1973, was laid off. Fellow muckraking investigative reporter Tom Robbins then resigned in solidarity.[25]

Voice Media GroupEdit

Village Voice Media executives Scott Tobias, Christine Brennan and Jeff Mars bought Village Voice Media's papers and associated web properties from its founders in September 2012, and formed the Denver-based Voice Media Group.[26]

In May 2013, The Village Voice editor Will Bourne and deputy editor Jessica Lustig told The New York Times that they were quitting the paper rather than executing further staff layoffs.[27] Both had been recent appointments. By then, the Voice had employed five editors since 2005. Following Bourne's and Lustig's departure, Village Media Group management fired three of the Voice's longest-serving contributors: gossip and nightlife columnist Michael Musto, restaurant critic Robert Sietsema, and theater critic Michael Feingold, all of whom had been writing for the paper for decades.[28][29][30]

In July 2013, Voice Media Group executives named Tom Finkel as editor.[31]

Peter Barbey ownership and constructionEdit

Peter Barbey, through the privately owned investment company Black Walnut Holdings LLC, purchased The Village Voice from Voice Media Group in October 2015.[32] Barbey is a member of one of America's wealthiest families.[33] The family has had ownership interest in the Reading Eagle, a daily newspaper serving the city of Reading, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region, for many years. Barbey serves as president and CEO of the Reading Eagle Company, and holds the same roles at The Village Voice. After taking over ownership of the Voice, Barbey named Joe Levy, formerly of Rolling Stone, as interim editor in chief,[34] and Suzan Gursoy, formerly of Ad Week, as publisher.[35] In December 2016, Barbey named Stephen Mooallem, formerly of Harper's Bazaar, as editor in chief.[36] Mooallem resigned in May 2018, and was not replaced before the publication's shutdown.[5]

Under the Barbey ownership, advertisements for escort agencies and phone sex services came to an end.[5]

On August 31, 2018, it was announced that the Village Voice would cease production and lay off half of its staff. The remaining staff would be kept on for a limited period for archival projects.[37][38][39] The last news article published was an August 31 piece by freelancer Steven Wishnia about tenants returning to their building after safety concerns had prompted its evacuation.[5] Two weeks after the Village Voice ceased operations on September 13, co-founder John Wilcock died in California at the age of 91.


The Voice has published columns and works by writers such as Ezra Pound, Henry Miller, Barbara Garson, Katherine Anne Porter, staff writer and author M.S. Cone, James Baldwin, E.E. Cummings, staff writer and author Ted Hoagland, William Bastone of, Colson Whitehead, Nelson George, Greg Tate, Barry Cooper, Peter Noel, Tom Stoppard, Lorraine Hansberry, Lester Bangs, Catholic activist and author Thomas E. Byers, Allen Ginsberg and Joshua Clover. Former editors have included Clay Felker and Tom Morgan.

The newspaper has also been a host to underground cartoonists. In addition to mainstay Jules Feiffer, whose cartoon ran for decades in the paper until its cancellation in 1996, well-known cartoonists featured in the paper have included R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, Stan Mack, Mark Alan Stamaty, Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, Ward Sutton, Ruben Bolling and M. Wartella.

See alsoEdit


  1. "About Us". Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  2. Joe Pompeo, "Village Voice sold to new owner," Script error Politico, October 12, 2015.
  3. John LeLand and Sarah Maslin Nir, "After 62 Years and Many Battles, Village Voice Will End Print Publication," Script error New York Times, August 22, 2017.
  4. Helmore, Edward (September 21, 2017). "The Village Voice prints its final edition – with Bob Dylan on the cover". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Pager, Tyler; Peiser, Jaclyn (August 31, 2018). "The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2018. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Lawrence van Gelder, Dan Wolf, 80, a Village Voice Founder, Dies Script error, The New York Times, April 12, 1996. Accessed online June 2, 2008.
  7. "The Voice Makes a Move in 1960". Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018. 
  8. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Village Voice Has Left The Village Script error, Bedford + Bowery. Accessed online September 16, 2013.
  9. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1981 Script error, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  10. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1986 Script error, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  11. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 2000 Script error, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  12. [1] Script error
  13. Johnston, Maura (2011-04-14). "Maura Johnston, "Announcing The 4Knots Music Festival, Taking Place This July 16", The Village Voice Blogs, April 14, 2011". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  14. Spencer, Walter Troy. "Too Much My Dear". The Village Voice.,293555&hl=en. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  15. "Stonewall at 40: The Voice Articles That Sparked a Final Night of Rioting". Archived from the original on April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018. 
  16. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution. Carter, David. p. 226.
  17. "DomesticPartners". 2009-02-12. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 
  18. "iTunes - Podcasts - Voice Film Club by The Village Voice". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 
  19. Excellence in Online Journalism Award: Past Winners 2000–2006 Script error, NPF Awards, National Press Foundation. Accessed online June 2, 2008.
  20. "". Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 
  21. "Edwin Fancher Oral History - On founding the Voice". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  22. Sisario, Ben (November 30, 2006). "Idolator and Pazz & Jop Polls - Report" (in en). The New York Times. 
  23. "Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others Script error". The New York Times, December 30, 2008.
  24. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "The Village Voice Script error". National Review, December 31, 2008.
  25. JEREMY W. PETERS, ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-23. ". The New York Times, January 4, 2011.
  26. "Village Voice Media Execs Acquire The Company’s Famed Alt Weeklies, Form New Holding Company". Tech Crunch. Archived from the original on September 26, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  27. Carr, David (10 May 2013). "Top Editors Abruptly Leave Village Voice Over Staff Cuts". New York Times. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  28. Hallock, Betty (May 17, 2013). "Village Voice 'bloodbath' sends restaurant critic Robert Sietsema packing". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013.,0,7776071.story. 
  29. Kassel, Matthew; Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (May 17, 2013). "Longtime writers out at The Village Voice". New York Observer. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. 
  30. Simonson, Robert (May 20, 2013). "Michael Feingold, longtime critic, let go from Village Voice". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. 
  31. "Tom Finkel Named as Editor of the Village Voice". 2013-07-08. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  32. Santora, Marc (12 October 2015). "Village Voice Sold to Peter Barbey, Owner of a Pennsylvania Newspaper". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  33. Dolan, Karen A.; Kroll, Luisa (1 July 2015). "America's Richest Families #48 Barbey family". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2015. 
  34. "Village Voice Taps Joe Levy as Interim EIC" (in en-US). Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  35. "Village Voice hires new publisher ahead of 'extensive relaunch'". POLITICO Media. Archived from the original on January 31, 2017. 
  36. Ember, Sydney (2016-12-05). "The Village Voice Names a New Top Editor, Again". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 17, 2016. 
  37. Darcy, Oliver. "The Village Voice folds after more than 60 years". CNNMoney. 
  38. "Groundbreaking Alternative Paper Village Voice Shuts Down" (in en). NBC 10 Philadelphia. 2018-08-31. 
  39. Neason, Alexandria (August 31, 2018). "The Village Voice ends editorial production, lays off half of staff" (in en). Columbia Journalism Review. 

Further readingEdit


External linksEdit

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