Readers Pay Their Respects to 'The Village Voice,' the Country's First Alt-Weekly

The NYC outlet has ceased publication more than 60 years after it launched. 'The Village Voice' owner Pete Barbey announced the news to his staff Friday: "I bought the 'Village Voice' to save it; this isn't exactly how I thought it was going to end up."

Village Voice

Image via Getty/Drew Angerer

Village Voice

More than 60 years after its inception, NYC’s the Village Voice has ceased publication.

As first reported by the Gothamist, the iconic alt-weekly shut down Friday when its owner Pete Barbey directed his staff to stop posting new content. Barbey, who purchased the paper three years ago, reportedly announced that half of the Village Voice staff—15 to 20 people—had already been laid off; the remaining employees will be let go once they complete an archive project.

“Today is kind of a sucky day,” Barbey told the staff, according to audio obtained by Gothamist. “Due to, basically, business realities, we're going to stop publishing Village Voice new material [sic] […] I bought the Village Voice to save it; this isn't exactly how I thought it was going to end up. I'm still trying to save the Village Voice.”

The Village Voice was founded in 1955 by Ed Fancher, Dan Wolf, John Wilcock, and Norman Mailer. Known as the country’s first alternative weekly, the publication became a NYC staple for its forward-thinking coverage of art, music, politics, and pop culture. The Village Voice—which published pieces by Ezra Pound, Lester Bangs, and Allen Ginsberg—also received multiple prestigious honors, including three Pulitzer Prizes and the George Polk Award.

“The Voice has been a key element of New York City journalism and is read around the world,” Barbey wrote in a statement. “As the first modern alternative newspaper, it literally defined a new genre of publishing… The Voice has connected multiple generations to local and national news, music, art, theater, film, politics and activism, and showed us that its idealism could be a way of life.”

Though rumors of the outlet’s demise have circulated for years, a shutdown seemed much more imminent last summer, when the publication ended its print edition to stay alive.

Following the news of the Village Voice closure, many readers and media figures went to social media to mourn the loss. You can read some of the reactions below.

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