November 13, 2005

by Reb Yudel
Village Voice at 50

New York Magazine looks at the Village Voice as it turns 50 and a new owner comes on board. Will the paper we haven't read in a decade be able to reinvent itself?

Word of bad morale at the Voice, however, brought [new Village Voice owner  Michael] Lacey up short. Although no slouch with the downsize scythe himself (mass-firing tales are legend in the New Times canon), Lacey shook his head at stories of layoffs.

“You don’t get rid of good people just to save money. They’re too hard to find. You don’t discourage them. You want a lively newsroom, some action. Sturm. Drang. That place seemed dead.”

He couldn’t seem to get over David Schneiderman, his new partner, referring to himself as “a numbers guy.” He liked Schneiderman and had learned not to underestimate him. But “a numbers guy? . . . Sounds like death. I can’t even balance my checkbook.

“It’s so sick the way most of the business runs. The top editors don’t edit. Never touch a piece of copy. What do they do all day, think beautiful thoughts? The way we do it, the editors have to write too. They should never forget how hard it is, the fucking agony of it. I make myself write and report. It kills me, but I do it.

”Then, loud enough for the other diners to turn around, Lacey declared, “God help me, I’m in a business of weenies!”

Can New Owner Michael Lacey Make the Village Voice Relevant Again?


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