Village Voice Editor Tony Ortega Fires Back

Village Voice editor Tony Ortega has fired back at Austin Chronicle editor Louis Black’s suggestion that some weekly publications lost their alt-cred when they were bought by publishing chains.

Black’s column didn’t specify which publications he was referring to, but Ortega says it was obviously a shot at Village Voice Media, parent company of the Village Voice. After presenting a detailed rebuttal to the notion that the Voice‘s editorial content has suffered due to corporate profit-chasing, Ortega addresses the broader issues facing the alternative media:

I told you I had a lot of respect for the Austin Chronicle and I meant it. But I thought you were one of the smart ones and understood that in the fierce fight for our lives some of us are in, writing the same old lefty political essays has been completely drowned out by the noise of the Internet.

Carrying water for local lefty activists? Hey, that went out when those activists got their own Twitter feeds and Tumblrs and, of course, blogs. They don’t need us anymore, Louis.

. . .

Does that make us less “alternative”? Well, as plenty have pointed out, in the age of the web it’s nearly impossible to define “alternative” anymore. But I know what you mean when you say “alternative,” Louis. It’s the old hippie ideal of endlessly pushing a lefty agenda to keep up your “movement” cred. Hey, good luck with that. But I live in a cutthroat town, and I have salaries to pay. Your version of “alternative” wouldn’t last a month here.

Read the full piece here. And stay tuned.

UPDATE 5:48 PM EST: In the comments section of Ortega’s piece, Louis Black expresses admiration for the Village Voice and says that his column was not intended as a slight to Ortega. He concludes, “I’m sorry you took my column the way you did while accepting all blame for not being clearer.”

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