The Village Voice

This article is about the New York newspaper. For the Ottawa Hills, Ohio magazine, see The Village Voice of Ottawa Hills.

Coordinates: 40°43′42″N 73°59′28″W / 40.7283°N 73.9911°W / 40.7283; -73.9911

The Village Voice
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) The Village Voice LLC
Publisher Suzan Gursoy
Editor-in-chief Will Bourne[1]
Founded 1955
Headquarters 80 Maiden Lane
New York City, New York 10038 United States[2]
Circulation 120,000 (2016)
ISSN 0042-6180
The Cooper Square former head office of the paper
Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff; photo by Tom Pich

Founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer, The Village Voice was created in 1955 as a platform for the creative community. As the nation’s first alternative newsweekly, The Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited, and passionate journalism into the public discourse.

The recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award and the George Polk Award, The Village Voice remains a go-to source for coverage of New York's politics and vast cultural landscape. Known for its unique mix of in-depth reporting and incisive arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews, The Village Voice provides readers with an indispensable perspective on the world's most vibrant city.

Winner of the National Press Foundation's Online Journalism Award and the Editor & Publisher EPPY Award for Best Overall U.S. Weekly Newspaper Online, The Village Voice is staging a pivotal digital relaunch in 2017 alongside the relaunch of its newsweekly.


Early years

October 1955 cover

The Voice was launched by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, John Wilcock, and Norman Mailer[3] on October 26, 1955 from a two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village, which was its initial coverage area, expanding to other parts of the city by the 1960s. In the 1960s the offices were located at Sheridan Square; then, from the '70s through 1980, at 11th Street and University Place; and then Broadway and 13th Street. In 1991 they moved to Cooper Square in the East Village, and in 2013, to the Financial District.[4]

The Voice has published groundbreaking investigations of New York City politics, as well as reporting on local and national politics, with arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews. It has received three Pulitzer Prizes, in 1981 (Teresa Carpenter),[5] 1986 (Jules Feiffer)[6] and 2000 (Mark Schoofs).[7] Almost since its inception the paper has recognized alternative theater in New York through its Obie Awards.[8] The paper's "Pazz & Jop" music poll, started by Robert Christgau in the early 1970s, continues to this day and remains a highly 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's movies. In 2001 the paper sponsored its first Siren Festival music festival, a free annual event every summer held at Coney Island. That event has since been moved to the lower tip of Manhattan and re-christened the "4knots Music Festival," a reference to the speed of the East River's current.[9]

The Voice has published many well-known writers, including Ezra Pound, Henry Miller, Barbara Garson, Katherine Anne Porter, staff writer and author M.S.Cone, James Baldwin, E.E. Cummings, Nat Hentoff, staff writer and author Ted Hoagland, William Bastone of, 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.

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, Tom Carson, Wayne Barrett, and Richard Goldstein.

The newspaper has also been a host to promising 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 currently M. Wartella.

The Voice is also known for containing adult content, including sex-advice columns and many pages of advertising for "adult services". This content is located at the back of the newspaper. It is known locally for being the place where most hard rock or jazz concerts are announced, sometimes with full page paid ads. Most groups visiting New York advertise in the Voice for publicity. Most venues in NYC advertise their concerts in The Village Voice.

The Voice's competitors in New York City include New York Observer and Time Out New York. In 1996, after decades of carrying a cover price, the Voice switched from a paid weekly to a free, alternative weekly. The Voice’s web site is a past winner of both the National Press Foundation’s Online Journalism Award (2001)[10] and the Editor & Publisher EPpy Award for Best Overall U.S. Newspaper Online Service – Weekly, Community, Alternative & Free (2003).[11]

While the Voice is today known for its staunch support for the civil rights of gays -- it publishes an annual Gay Pride issue every June -- it wasn't always so. Early in its history, the newspaper had a reputation as having an anti-homosexual slant. When reporting on the Stonewall riots of 1969, the newspaper referred to the riots as "The Great Faggot Rebellion".[12] Two reporters, Smith and Truscott, 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.) After the riot, the Gay Liberation Front attempted to promote dances for gays and lesbians and were not allowed to use the words gay or homosexual, which the newspaper considered derogatory. The newspaper changed their policy after the GLF petitioned the Voice to do so.[13]

The Voice was the second organization in the US known to have extended domestic partner benefits, in July 1982. 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.[14]

Seventeen alternative weeklies around the United States are owned by the Voice's parent company Village Voice Media. 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[15] and Wolf,[3] New York City Councilman Carter Burden,[3] New York Magazine founder Clay Felker, Rupert Murdoch, and Leonard Stern of the Hartz Mountain empire.

The paper is referenced in the musical Rent during the song La Vie Boheme. The line goes: "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."

Changes after acquisition by New Times Media

Wikinews has related news: An interview with gossip columnist Michael Musto on the art of celebrity journalism

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.[16] Four months later the newspaper fired 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 fired 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. Afterward, Tony Ortega held the position of editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2012.

The firing 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").[17][18] 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.[19]

Voice Media Group

In September 2012, Village Voice Media executives Scott Tobias, Christine Brennan and Jeff Mars bought Village Voice Media's papers and associated web properties from its founders and formed Voice Media Group.[20]

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.[21] Both had been recent hires. The Voice has gone through 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 Voice for decades.[22][23][24]

In July 2013, Voice Media Group executives named Tom Finkel editor.[25]

Current ownership

In October 2015, Peter D. Barbey, through the private investment company Black Walnut Holdings L.L.C., purchased The Village Voice from Voice Media Group.[26] Barbey is a member of one of America's wealthiest families,[27] who has had ownership interest in the Reading Eagle, a daily newspaper serving the city of Reading, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region, for many years. He serves as president and CEO of the Reading Eagle Company & currently of The Village Voice. Barbey named Joe Levy, formerly of Rolling Stone, Editor in Chief and Suzan Gursoy, formerly of Ad Week, Publisher. Under new direction The Village Voice is staging a pivotal digital relaunch in 2017 alongside the relaunch of its newsweekly.


In addition to the weekly print edition circulated around New York City, the paper operates blogs & several social media accounts, including @VillageVoice on Twitter and it also manages a Facebook & Instagram presence. The film section writers and editors also produce a weekly Voice Film Club podcast.[28]

Awards and honors

See also


  1. "Tom Finkel Named as Editor of the Village Voice | Village Voice". 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  2. "About Us". Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  3. 1 2 3 Lawrence van Gelder, Dan Wolf, 80, a Village Voice Founder, Dies, The New York Times, April 12, 1996. Accessed online June 2, 2008.
  4. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Village Voice Has Left The Village, Bedford + Bowery. Accessed online September 16, 2013.
  5. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1981, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  6. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1986, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  7. The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 2000, official Pulitzer Prize site. Accessed online June 5, 2008.
  8. Archived December 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Johnston, Maura (2011-04-14). "Maura Johnston, "Announcing The 4Knots Music Festival, Taking Place This July 16", The Village Voice Blogs, April 14, 2011". Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  10. Excellence in Online Journalism Award: Past Winners 2000–2006, NPF Awards, National Press Foundation. Accessed online June 2, 2008.
  11. "". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  12. Spencer, Walter Troy. "Too Much My Dear". Google News. The Village Voice. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  13. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution. Carter, David. p. 226.
  14. "DomesticPartners". 2009-02-12. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  15. "Edwin Fancher Oral History - On founding the Voice". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  16. Ben Sisario, "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bloggy: An Online Poll Covets the Territory Once Owned by Pazz & Jop", The New York Times, November 30, 2006. Accessed June 8, 2008.
  17. "Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others". The New York Times, December 30, 2008.
  18. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "The Village Voice". National Review, December 31, 2008.
  19. JEREMY W. PETERS, "". The New York Times, January 4, 2011.
  20. "Village Voice Media Execs Acquire The Company's Famed Alt Weeklies, Form New Holding Company". Tech Crunch. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  21. Carr, David (10 May 2013). "Top Editors Abruptly Leave Village Voice Over Staff Cuts". New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  22. Hallock, Betty (May 17, 2013). "Village Voice 'bloodbath' sends restaurant critic Robert Sietsema packing". Los Angeles Times.
  23. Kassel, Matthew; Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (May 17, 2013). "Longtime writers out at The Village Voice". New York Observer.
  24. Simonson, Robert (May 20, 2013). "Michael Feingold, longtime critic, let go from Village Voice". Playbill.
  25. "Tom Finkel Named as Editor of the Village Voice". 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  26. Santora, Marc (12 October 2015). "Village Voice Sold to Peter Barbey, Owner of a Pennsylvania Newspaper". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  27. Dolan, Karen A.; Kroll, Luisa (1 July 2015). "America's Richest Families #48 Barbey family". Forbes. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  28. "iTunes - Podcasts - Voice Film Club by The Village Voice". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  29. Jason Zaragoza (13 July 2013). "2013 AAN Awards Winners Announced". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  30. "Awards for Journalism: 2011 Winners". New York Press Club. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  31. 1 2 3 Jason Zaragoza (22 July 2011). "2011 AltWeekly Awards Winners Announced". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  32. 1 2 3 4 5 Jason Zaragoza (16 July 2010). "2010 AltWeekly Awards Winners Announced". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  33. 1 2 Jason Zaragoza (1 July 2008). "Full List of 2009 AltWeekly Awards Winners Released". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  34. "AAN and Medill Announce AltWeekly Awards Winners". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. 7 June 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  35. "New York Press Club Awards for Journalism". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  36. "Alternative Newsweekly Award Winners Announced". The Write News. Writers Write, Inc. June 20, 2003. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  37. Heather Kuldell (15 June 2007). "AAN Announces AltWeekly Awards Winners". Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  38. American Society of Journalists and Authors. " Awards History – Donald Robinson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism". Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  39. Carr, Brad. "New York State Bar Association and New York Press Club to Honor News Media Reporting About Law, Legal System – Village Voice and ABC News receive top honors". New York State Bar Association. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  40. 1 2 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (May 13, 2002). "Village Voice Wins Berger Award". Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  41. 1 2 3 4 Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. "Alternative Newsweekly Award Winners Announced – Two Sept. 11 Pieces Take First Place, Gambit Weekly Wins Four Firsts". Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  42. National Press Foundation. "The National Press Foundation - NPF Awards - 2001 Award Winner,". Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  43. The Pulitzer Board. "2000 Pulitzer Prize Winners – INTERNATIONAL REPORTING". Archived from the original on April 10, 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  44. Shaw, David (April 18, 1986). "Denver Post Wins Pulitzer Three Other Newspapers Get Two Prizes Apiece". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
  45. "Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Awards". National Press Foundation. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  46. The Pulitzer Board. "The Pulitzer Prizes for 1981". Archived from the original on April 3, 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  47. Long Island University. "The George Polk Awards for Journalism". Retrieved June 1, 2008.

Further reading

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