The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes

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The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes


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It gave a home to the investigative reporters Jack Newfield and James Ridgeway, and the music critics Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Ellen Willis and Greg Tate. Nat Hentoff focused on jazz and First Amendment issues from 1958 to 2009, and the nightcrawling columnist Michael Musto wrote on celebrities, drag queens and club kids, with wisecracks thrown in, for more than 30 years.

Steven Wishnia, who has freelanced for The Voice on and off since 1994, said he stayed up until midnight on Thursday, putting the final touches on an article about the return of residents to their building on the Bowery after they were ordered to vacate it because of safety hazards. On Friday, Mr. Wishnia received a link to his article along with a note from his editor, Neil DeMause.

“So the good news is that you have the honor of having written the last news article ever for The Village Voice,” Mr. DeMause wrote. “The bad news is also the good news.”

Mr. Barbey is an heir to a Pennsylvania retail fortune. With a net worth estimated at more than $6 billion by Forbes, the Barbey family has a stake in brands like North Face, Wrangler and Timberland. For generations the family has also owned The Reading Eagle, a Pennsylvania daily newspaper. Mr. Barbey has been its chief executive since 2011.

He first read The Voice as a boarding school student in Massachusetts and was drawn to its coverage of the mid-1970s New York rock scene and the film criticism of Andrew Sarris. On Friday he became the media mogul who was shutting it down.

“I began my involvement with The Voice intending to ensure its future,” Mr. Barbey said in the statement. “While this is not the outcome I’d hoped for and worked towards, a fully digitized Voice archive will offer coming generations a chance to experience for themselves what is clearly one of this city’s and this country’s social and cultural treasures.”

The death of The Voice occurred in a bleak economic climate for local journalism. Print circulation has plummeted for two surviving New York tabloids, The New York Post and The Daily News. In July, Tronc, the owner of The News, laid off half the paper’s editorial staff, which had already been severely reduced.



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