The venerable Village Voice, a NY newsstand staple since its 1955 inception, bid farewell Tuesday to its print edition. In his statement, he noted that when the Voice converted to a free weekly, "Craigslist was in its infancy, Google and Facebook weren't yet glimmers in the eyes of their founders, and alternative weeklies - and newspapers everywhere - were still packed with classified advertising". "The business has moved online - and so has the Voice's audience, which expects to do what we do not just once a week, but every day". In 1996 the Voice switched to free distribution in an effort to boost circulation.
CEO and newspaper lover Peter Barbey, who purchased the then-struggling paper in October 2015, announced that in addition to a continuing digital presence, the Voice will also still sponsor events like the Pride Awards and the Obie Awards.
The Voice was started by Mailer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and three others in New York's Greenwich Village in 1955. City dwellers have also had to say goodbye to the print editions of The Boston Phoenix, The Baltimore City Paper and The Philly City Paper. As the nation's first alternative newsweekly, the Voice today carries on the same tradition of no-holds-barred reporting and criticism it embraced when it began publishing 60 years ago.
As the Voice continues on in digital form, it will do so without at least some of its current staff. "The Village Voice is weighing a number of scenarios with a firm timeline to be released in due time", read a statement given to CJR. Soon after, the union crowdfunded more than $7,000 in the event of a strike.
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This summer, the Voice redesigned its website, and it has since reported rapidly increasing traffic.
The no-longer-weekly alt-weekly has a hallowed history of defining and exemplifying NY counterculture, having been founded by Norman Mailer, Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, and John Wilcock. Grynbaum points out, the end of its print edition is the "end of a journalism era in New York City".
Barbey commented on the paper's print closure, noting: "My family has been in the newspaper business for more than 200 years". "But the most powerful thing about the Voice wasn't that it was printed on newsprint or that it came out every week". Now, the Voice will try to build its presence online, as New Yorkers wonder what will happen to all those boxes dispensing Village Voice issues dotted around NY.