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Breaking: Michael Cohen is announced as new Village Voice publisher as Judy Miszner steps down

Village Voice Media CEO Jim Larkin announced this evening that Michael Cohen will be the new publisher of The Village Voice, and will resign from his current position as publisher of the Miami New Times. He will officially begin at the Voice on January 30, 2006.

Cohen replaces Judy Miszner, who stepped down today as Village Voice publisher, a post she has held for seven years. In a Voice-wide email sent at 7pm this evening (and copying her counterparts at LA Weekly, CityPages, Seattle Weekly, Nashville Scene and OC Weekly), she thanked the Voice staff for making her time there the best of her career, and wrote:

During this period we have faced incredible challenges: 9/11, blackouts, a transit strike, the proliferation of free dailies and the transformation of the internet into a major competitor. Through it all, you have shown unsurpassed loyalty and commitment to the Voice.

I am confident that a successful future lies ahead for you in the new organization and wish you the best of luck. I will miss you.

Larkin was quick to follow up with an email praising Miszner, saying “I am sorry to see her go and I wish her well in her future endeavors.” Larkin added that Miszner will consult with the Voice over the next two months.

Village Voice Media announced its merger with newspaper chain New Times on October 23, 2005, after months of speculation, which intensified leading up to the merger. The Justice Department approved the merger on November 28, 2005.

In retrospect, Miszner’s departure is not entirely surprising. The merger, which added the six Village Voice properties to the New Times’ eleven, created a glut of people at the top and it was rumored at the time that “most top VVM executives will leave within 60 days and receive separation bonuses.” As well, the Voice has lately felt the pinch of competition from adspace alternatives like Craigslist, free dailies and online sources (just today Miszner was quoted as admitting that Craiglist had made a dent in the Voice‘s classified ad base).

Miszner’s departure letter certainly evinces a fondness for her time at the Voice and an appreication for the “unsurpassed loyalty” of her staffers. Neither Miszner nor Larkin specified what Miszner’s future plans might be. When asked if Miszner had been pushed out, Village Voice spokesperson Jessica Bellucci declined to comment.

Staffwide memos from Larkin and Miszner after the jump.

Village Voice Media, New Times Announce Merger [VV]
Losing a ‘Voice’ [SFBG]
Village Voice and New Times: Their love is real, dammit [FBNY]


Dear Village Voice Staffers:

I am pleased to announce that Michael Cohen has accepted the
position of Publisher of The Village Voice. Cohen is currently Publisher of Miami New Times, a position he will resign immediately. He will take the Voice helm on Monday January 30, 2006.

Michael has been in the alternative weekly publishing business for
22 years and has worked with New Times in South Florida for ten of those years. He has published or launched alt weeklies in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Miami. He has been responsible for 5 weeklies in the New Times organization since 2004 and has molded the New Times papers in Dade-Broward-Palm Beach counties into one of the strongest weekly groups in the country with circulation of 170,000. Cohen graduated from the University of Maryland in 1983. He is married and has one son.

When you see Michael in the halls next week please welcome him
aboard the Voice.

thanks,

Jim Larkin
Village Voice Media

—–Original Message—–
From: “Miszner, Judy”
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 18:59:33
To:”Everyone(VV)”

Subject: Farewell

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that today is my last day as Publisher of the Village Voice. I thank all of you for making these the 7 best years of my career. During this period we have faced incredible challenges: 9/11, blackouts, a transit strike, the proliferation of free dailies and the transformation of the internet into a major competitor. Through it all, you have shown unsurpassed loyalty and commitment to the Voice.

I am confident that a successful future lies ahead for you in the new
organization and wish you the best of luck. I will miss you.

Best regards,
Judy

—–Original Message—–
From: “Larkin, Jim”
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 20:07:25
To:”Everyone(VV)”
Subject: Judy Miszner’s Depature

Dear Village Voice Staffers:

I wish to add my sentiments to Judy Miszner’s announcement of her
departure from her duties as Publisher of the Voice. Judy has done an outstanding job, as all of you know, running the Village Voice over the past seven years in a very challenging publishing environment. I am sorry to see her go and I wish her well in her future endeavors.

Judy will continue to consult with the Village Voice over the next
two months.

Jim Larkin
Village Voice Media

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