That's the rhetorical question PopMatters asks in an article lamenting the "sad trajectory" of arts coverage at the paper since it was taken over by New Times. In a somewhat less-than-thorough investigation, the Web site turns to two former Voice music critics for answers. Robert Christgau says Michael Lacey is "a philistine who hates New York City” but admits that Village Voice Media's executive editor cares about writing; it's just not the kind of writing that Christgau does. Meanwhile, Eric Weisbard claims the new owners hate "what the Voice stood for," i.e., "the idea that you should write about pop music with the same depth and the same number of cultural references that you would talk about a novelist in the New York Review of Books."

Continue Reading‘What Happened to Our (Village) Voice?’

LA Observed broke the news this week that Jill Stewart had been hired as the news editor at LA Weekly and surmised, "With Stewart around you have to wonder about [LA Weekly Editor Laurie] Ochoa's authority (and how much of her survival under New Times is connected to her marriage to award-winning Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold.)" Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey answers: "Frankly, this is the sort of conspiratorial brilliance I’d expect from someone pushing a shopping cart loaded with all their worldly possessions … Ochoa is my editor." Lacey also praises David Zahniser's investigation of the death of labor leader Miguel Contreras, and savages columnist Harold Meyerson, who resigned from the paper earlier this week after unloading a few parting shots of his own.

Continue ReadingSpeculation About VVM’s L.A. Moves ‘Simply Silly,’ Lacey Says

Peripatetic reporter Lacey Phillabaum blazed a trail through the alternative press even after sending the University of Washington's Institute for Urban Horticulture up in blazes on behalf of the eco-terrorist group Earth Liberation Front in 2001. Besides working as a staffer at The Source Weekly and C-Ville Weekly, Phillabaum contributed freelance pieces to sundry alternative newspapers and AAN. "I knew she was very interested in environmental stories from the clips she had," Washington City Paper Senior Editor Mike Debonis tells Baltimore City Paper, "But I didn't have an inkling that she had any radical tendencies."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Reporter Leaves Trail of Clips, Smoldering Ruins

Earlier this week, the Village Voice confirmed the departure of Doug Simmons by posting a photo of a napkin on which Executive Editor Mike Lacey had scrawled, "Doug Simmons is no longer acting editor." But the story doesn't end there. The Stranger has posted on its blog a new photo of a pair of napkins, on which "Lacey" writes that he "recently discovered that many of the young ladies who advertise in the back pages of the Voice actually have PENISES. They appear to be ladies until it’s too late."

Continue ReadingThe Stranger Unearths Another ‘Lacey Napkin’

That's what a source told Boston Phoenix media critic Mark Jurkowitz after Village Voice Media's new Executive Editor Michael Lacey met with "about 30 staffers" in New York on Feb. 1. "This industry has been afflicted by this kind of shut-in mentality," Lacey told Jurkowitz. "Are people prepared to receive the message? There were a lot of people [at that meeting] who didn't like what I said." One of them was media columnist Sydney Schanberg, who said Lacey's "language was adversarial and pugnacious. ... He played the bully. I respond terribly to bullies." Voice columnist Nat Hentoff didn't respond well either, especially when Lacey criticized one of his columns and complained about "reporting that was stenography." But Hentoff decided not to resign because he's waiting to see how Lacey treats his work. Jurkowitz also covered the recent resignation of the editorial staff at the New York Press and interpreted the "turmoil" at both papers as "a sure indicator that the alt-weekly business ... is struggling for relevance in an increasingly fragmented marketplace."

Continue ReadingAt Voice, Reaction to Lacey Runs Gamut From ‘Fear to Exhilaration’

A member of the Arizona Senate's Ethics Committee has filed a formal complaint against Sen. Jack Harper (R-Surprise), arguing that Harper acted improperly when he issued a subpoena requiring that voting machines be released to a consultant hired by Phoenix New Times. Harper said he agreed to allow New Times to fund consultant Douglas W. Jones, a computer-science expert, after the Senate refused to pay for an investigation into a contested 2004 election. On Dec. 21, a judge refused to enforce a second subpoena for the individual ballots to be released to Jones, whose report on the machines is expected in a week. It is unclear whether Jones' report will be made public, or if it will be published first in New Times. According to the Arizona Daily Star, New Times Editor Rick Barrs "said he is not sure whether he will even give a copy of the consultant's report to Harper."

Continue ReadingSenator Tied to New Times Inquiry Draws Criticism