News and views from inside the media bubble by Jordan Green
BIG ALT-MEDIA AND CONTROVERSIAL ONLINE SITE DIVORCE
For at least a couple years Backpages.com has been a major source of embarrassment in the world alt-weeklies, publications like YES! Weekly serving urban markets with often provocative political and investigative reporting, along with a strong focus on music, arts and food criticism. The online ad service operated by the alt-weekly conglomerate Village Voice Media has been roundly criticized by the likes of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for facilitating child prostitution. And Village Voice Media is not just a conglomerate; it’s namesake is the oldest and most venerated of the genre. Unfortunately, the Village Voice has become a sad shadow of its former self, its news pages entirely gutted in favor of forgettable celebrity journalism.
So it’s big news in our world that on Tuesday multiple news outlets reported that Village Voice Media is selling its 13 publications, which include Miami New Times and LA Weekly, while retaining the controversial classified advertising website.
The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies trumpeted the news that the 13 publications would be sold to the new Voice Media Group sans Backpages.com in an e-mail post attributed to staff.
“Now, each company can focus on what it does best: Voice Media Group will make sure its news organizations continue to publish the high-quality, local journalism that we’ve come to expect, while Village Voice Media Holdings will concentrate on revenue through its extensive digital classified sales.”