Friday, June 13, 2008

The `Village Voice' Alternative Media Monopoly's Hidden History--Part 10

(Most of the following article originally appeared in the October 9, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian Weekly. See below for parts 1-9.)

During the New York magazine/Clay Felker Era of the Village Voice alternative media monopoly’s history, readers of the Voice apparently grew even more dissatisfied with the newspaper than they had been during the Carter Burden Era, since it became clear that the newspaper had no philosophical or moral anchor anymore. As The Great American Newspaper recalled:

“To any outside observer, it was obvious by early 1975 that the Village Voice was publishing less, not of quantity, but of substance, than it had ever published before…The Village Voice had stopped making trends that others would follow. It had begun itself to follow trends. It was covering—reacting to—events. It was publishing stuff that everyone else in publishing published. It had ceased to be the paper where a new writer could always be discovered, or a new idea always discussed…”

The same book also noted why Voice staff people grew more dissatisfied with the Voice during the New York magazine/Clay Felker Era:

“The crew of editors that came in under Clay Felker…found themselves, to use Movement lingo, inside a participatory police state.

“The problem was that Clay Felker would come down to his new acquisition on Wednesdays for a lunchtime editorial meeting…where the contents and the cover of the next week’s issue would be decided upon and then would come down again on Monday afternoon…charging through the 5th floor, raging and storming about how this story and that picture were not right, how the cover was awful, how everything had to be changed, forcing them to tear up all their plans and start all over again at the last minute. They began to dread living under the gun with Clay…”

Former Voice executive editor-in-chief Felker was apparently not a very mellow guy to work under. As The Great American Newspaper revealed, Felker “threw…screaming fits, howling and wailing and bellowing so that everyone on the entire floor could hear him…” He also again raised the Voice’s newsstand cost to 60 cents (in 1970s money) in late 1976.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 10/9/96)

Next: The Village Voice Alternative Media Monopoly’s Hidden History—Part 11