LABOR DAY AT THE VILLAGE VOICE. Weeks have passed since Blog About Town last covered the personnel situation at The Village Voice. But today is a fine time for an update.
Since last June, when the new editor hired by Michael Lacey bailed before taking the reins, the big news was that the top editor spot was going to be filled by David Blum. At least that was the big news before the ax fell on eight more Voice editorial staffers just before this Labor Day weekend (and not long before Blum's ETA). Judging from this New York Observer item, that means that the Voice has lost at least 25 staffers (at least 26, if you count the editor-who-wasn't), many involuntarily, since Lacey took control of the paper late last year.
The most prominent of the latest set of ex-Voicers is rock criticism pioneer Robert Christgau, who had signed the petition protesting the discharge of James Ridgeway. So had four others among the axed: Jorge Morales, Ed Park, Darren Reidy, and Elizabeth Zimmer. The other headrolls: Minh Uong, LD Beghtol, and Tina Zimmer.
In The New York Times, reporter and union steward Tom Robbins said, "We've been looking forward to this new editor coming on and then all of a sudden we get hit with these very deep cuts and firings, including people like Bob Christgau, who helped put The Voice on the map. It cuts the heart right out of the paper." Park, a senior editor on the books section, said, that the paper's management had an "attitude of disdain for what I thought were the strong points of The Voice. It was a swaggering attitude that their chain of papers were so good and The Voice was an embarrassment and we have to get up to their level somehow."
BrooklynVegan offers sample articles and reader feedback as well as a Christgau farewell memo (from Gawker) in which the veteran critic writes, "It is now official--Village Voice Media fired me today, 'for taste,' which means (among other things) slightly sweeter severance" and "Bless the union, my severance is substantial enough to give me time to figure out what I'm doing next."
Here's Gawker on management's official statement.
And here's previous coverage.
Photo: David Marc Fischer