Five of those dismissed yesterday were senior arts editors, including Christgau, who had been a music critic for the paper on and off since 1969. The other three employees were design staff, including Art Director Minh Uong. In a statement, Village Voice Media describes the layoffs as an effort "to reconfigure the editorial department to place an emphasis on writers as opposed to editors." David Blum, who was named the editor of the Voice three weeks ago, tells The New York Times, "It wouldn't have been appropriate for me to weigh in on these decisions before I even took over the job." Blum's first day is September 12.