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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Tobias’

Village Voice Separates Itself from Backpage.com

A trio of Village Voice Media’s senior management team has purchased all 13 alt-weekly papers and their digital properties, but not backpage.com, the site which was infamously tied to prostitution. The new company is called Voice Media Group, and is led by Scott Tobias, formerly the COO of Village Voice Media; Jeff Mars, formerly executive VP of finance; and Christine Brennan, formerly executive managing editor.

Voice Media will be able to now operate the papers without backlash from ownership of Backpage.com. Village Voice Media was repeatedly criticized for the site’s alleged ties to ads that have been used to buy and sell underage women for sex. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times was one of Backpage’s biggest critics, often blasting Village Voice Media for publishing ads that might lead to illegal activities.

The new owners are clearly ready to distance themselves and their papers from Backpage. ”We’re excited to continue to focus on professional, curated, hard-hitting journalism, comprehensive entertainment coverage and a continued push to digital,” Tobias told Ad Age.

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New Owners — Kind Of — For LA Weekly

Village Voice Media, the parent company of the LA Weekly, is dismantling. The company’s 13 alternative newspapers are being purchased by a group of top VVM executives, led by chief operating officer Scott Tobias. The new owners are calling themselves Voice Media Group and will operate out of Denver. Tobias will serve as CEO, Jeff Mars (formerly VVM’s vice president of financial operation) will be chief financial officer, and Christine Brennan (formerly the executive managing editor of VVM) will serve as executive editor for the new company.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Brennan, a.k.a. “The Wicked Witch of Westword,” sure does like to fire people, (or “cut the fat” as she puts it) so we can probably expect more carnage on the alt-weekly horizon. Fingers crossed it doesn’t reach the LA Weekly.

Our hometown alt-weekly was last purchased in 2005 when New Times Media, run by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, purchased Village Voice Media and adopted the company name. Lacey and Larkin will retain Backpage.com, the online classified ad site that was the most profitable — and controversial — part of Village Voice Media.

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Michael Cohen Leaving The Village Voice

Michael Cohen is stepping down as Publisher of The Village Voice, a position he’s held since 2006. Taking over for Cohen will be Josh Fromson, who will leave his position of Publisher for the Voice’s sister paper, SF Weekly.

Cohen says he’s still deciding on what he’ll do next, but added that it won’t be a drastic change, whatever it is. “I’m hoping a few people will miss me, and I’m looking forward to my next act, which will most certainly be in media,” he said.

Much like Cohen, who has been in the business of alternative newspapers since he graduated from the University of Maryland in 1983, Fromson cut his teeth pushing print in Arizona and Missouri before becoming the Publisher at SF Weekly.

Village Voice Media Holdings Chief Operating Officer Scott Tobias said though Cohen will be missed, Fromson is more than capable of taking over. “We’re very disappointed to see Michael leaving; he’s done an incredible job for us in New York. At the same time, there’s not a better publisher in the country to take the reins than Josh Fromson.”