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Voice Editor Ortega: Why Stories Like The One In The Nation Are So Silly

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It’s been four months since the Village Voice unceremoniously ousted David Blum and hired a “half-Mexican kid from L.A.” Yesterday we spoke with Village Voice editor Tony Ortega, the paper’s fifth in 15 months, about his first 100 or so days in office. His State of the Alt-Weekly Union:

How do you feel about the current state of alt-weeklies nationwide?
While the dailies are struggling, the mood at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention in Portland, Oregon, last month seemed to be cautiously optimistic. The dailies, after all, are being told by consultants to go free, increase local coverage, and write with some attitude — all things we’re already doing. But like everyone else, we’re doing what we can to make better use of the Web, and our sales folks are looking for creative solutions to some of our traditional markets drying up. (Goodbye, record stores — an alt-weekly mainstay — for example.) That’s why stories like the recent one in The Nation about our company are so silly. It may be tempting for some to keep flogging New Times/Village Voice Media for supposedly betraying the alt-weekly progressive agenda, when what’s really going on is that we’ve chosen a focus on local, investigative reporting over writing political essays and endorsing candidates for a simple reason: survival in the age of the Internet, which is already saturated with political opinion.

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