For more than 60 years, The Village Voice has been a source for culture, news, and the newsink that ends up all over your hands when you pick up your free copy. But the prominent alt-weekly has just announced that it will cease its print edition. The staff got a memo about this end of an era on Tuesday afternoon, a document that is already making the rounds online.
Like so many alt-weeklies, The Village Voice relied on classified advertising revenue that dropped drastically with the advent of Craigslist, and hasn’t been able to quite make things up on the digital end. But owner Peter Barbey, who bought the struggling publication in 2015, notes that “business has moved online” along with the Voice’s audience. And if you thought we could get through another dispiriting development in the publishing industry without a mention of pivoting or at least glancing toward video, think again: Barbey says the decision was inspired in part by readers‘ expectations to “do what we do not just once a week, but every day, across a range of media, from words and pictures to podcasts, video, and even other forms of print publishing.”
But cheer up because Barbey, whose family co-owns the retail company that includes The North Face and Lee jeans brands, sees the move to web-only as simply reflecting these crazy, print-eschewing times. “The most powerful thing about the Voice wasn’t that it was printed on newsprint or that it came out every week,” he said in a statement. “It was that The Village Voice was alive, and that it changed in step with and reflected the times and the ever-evolving world around it. I want The Village Voice brand to represent that for a new generation of people—and for generations to come.”