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.