The Village Voice is dead — at least, as a functioning journalistic organization.
Starting today, the legendary alternative newspaper will no longer publish new stories. Gothamist reports that at a staff meeting, owner Peter Barbey said that about half the team would be laid off, while the other half would remain on-board for now to “wind things down” and work on creating a digital Voice archive.
Barbey acquired the Voice in 2015 and took the paper online-only last year. In a statement released today, he said:
In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realities facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.
The Village Voice was created to give speed to a cultural and social revolution, and its legacy and the voices that created that legacy are still relevant today. Perhaps more than ever. Its archives are an indispensable chronicle of history and social progress. Although the Voice will not continue publishing, we are dedicated to ensuring that its legacy will endure to inspire more generations of readers and writers to give even more speed to those same goals.
Some of that wording suggests that although The Voice’s editorial operations are ending, Barbey may still be working to salvage or sell parts of the company. In fact, Gothamist says that he told staff that he’s been talking to potential buyers, and that “for some of them this is something we’d have to do before they could talk to us any further.”
It’s also worth noting that Gothamist itself had a recent brush with death, having shut down last year before being revived by public media organization WNYC.