Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Village Voice: Now 30% Less Relevant!

According to the Boston Phoenix's Mark Jurkowitz, Sydney Schanberg has resigned as the Village Voice's "Press Clips" columnist. And it looks like the column -- which boasts such prestigious alumni as Alex Cockburn and Jim Ledbetter -- has been put on a permanent hiatus.

This is distressing. The media criticism column, of which Schanberg took over last April, has long been one of my must-reads. During his tenure, his columns were more insightful and 'big-picture' than the majority out there-- not focusing on the media minutiae of the day, but the landscape as a whole.

The 70-year-old Schanberg himself was a hell of a hire for the Voice, as he won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting while at The New York Times. There, he climbed the ladder from copy boy to Southeast Asia correspondent, where his harrowing experiences in Cambodia served as the basis for the film "The Killing Fields."

In the Phoenix article, Schanberg says that "it was clear to me at that writers's meeting that [executive editor Mike Lacey] did not want a press column...he said he didn't want any stories that referred to other people's work."

This move is a backwards move for the Voice and was one of the paper's strengths. So, unless the new owners of the Village Voice change their minds, a New York institution is now lost.

Here's to hoping Schanberg continues his media criticism elsewhere.

1 comment:

Saucy Intruder said...

I'd love to address the well written substance of your post. But I can't stop giggling over the fact that there is a journalist named "Jurkowitz".