Friday, January 07, 2011

An era in NYC journalism comes to an end

With the firing of investigative reporter and editor Wayne Barrett and the resignation of Tom Robbins in solidarity, the the story of the Village Voice as the conscience of New York City journalism has come to an end. The death of the Voice began in 2006 when it merged with New Times Media. That merger was immediately followed by the firing of Washington correspondent James Ridgway (at which point two others resigned). Two years later Nat Hentoff was also fired, despite the 50-year tenure of his column. These are just the investigative reporters; many others in the arts coverage and behind the scenes were also dismissed.

I don't mean to downplay the Voice's faults even in those years, especially its homophobia in the aftermath of the Stonewall Rebellion. Nor do I mean to put it in a class with the Guardian Newsweekly (where I worked) or the Pacifica radio network both of which were/are clearly more to the Left politically. But The Voice played a unique role in New York City politics and those days are over. And that is worth our bitter regret.

Legendary Muckraking Reporter Wayne Barrett Laid Off from Village Voice

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