Rumors are rampant at the Village Voice that it’s in the process of being purchased by the New Times chain, which owns eleven alt-weeklies in cities including San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Cleveland and St. Louis. Though the Voice did not confirm – “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” said Public Relations Director Jessica Bellucci - but both rumor and speculation that an alt-weekly merger between the New Times chain and Village Voice Media, which owns six alt-weeklies, have been going on for a while.
Earlier this year former NY Press Editor Jeff Koyen told The Guardian about a “plausible” rumor the New Times was to “assume a controlling interest in Village Voice Media later this year.” The Seattle Weekly (one of the six VV Media papers) asked Village Voice Media CEO David Schneiderman who said: “As a matter of policy, we never comment on rumors.” Good thing everyone’s on message.
The main concern in alt-weekly circles is the conflict of philosophies that inherent in such a merger. Per the SF Bay Guardian:
If New Times — which eschews activism, disdains editorials and endorsements, and holds a somewhat libertarian political philosophy — took control of the nation’s most venerable alt-weekly, there’s reason to fear that the best of the Voice and the other VVM papers would be destroyed.
Other speculation: what the rumored/speculated merger would mean for editor in chief Don Forst and managing editor Doug Simmons.
We’ll update this accordingly; in the meantime, please send all rumor and speculation to us at email@example.com.
Rumors of big alt-weekly merger raise media consolidation issues [SF Bay Guardian]