According to CNN, the New York weekly newspaper The Village Voice has ceased all publication after more than 60 years of local journalism. Owner Pete Barbey officially announced the newspaper's closing on Friday after laying off half of its staff.
"This is a sad day for The Village Voice and for millions of readers," Barbey said. "The Voice has been a key element of New York City journalism and is read around the world."
"As the first modern alternative newspaper, it literally defined a new genre of publishing," he added.
Founded in 1955, The Village Voice was the nation's first alternative weekly newspaper. Since then, The Voice has gone on to win three Pulitzer Prizes and various other awards for providing local news to residents of New York for more than six decades.
"Although the Voice will not continue publishing," Barbey continued, "we are dedicated to ensuring that its legacy will endure to inspire more generations of readers and writers to give even more speed to those same goals."
"We have begun working to ensure that the enormous print archive of The Village Voice is made digitally accessible," he said, which is why he only let go of half the newspaper's staff for now. While Barbey claims he bought the publication to save it, he was ultimately unable to continue publishing new content. As the market for local newspapers dwindled in recent years, The Voice increasingly struggled, eventually stopping all print production in April of last year.
According to audio obtained by Gothamist, Barbey told his staff the bad news on Friday, saying, "Today is kind of a sucky day. Due to, basically, business realities, we're going to stop publishing Village Voice new material," adding that only half the staff would stay to archive all of the newspaper's content.
Calling the newsweekly's archives indispensable, Barbey noted that The Village Voice chronicled a history of "social revolution," adding that "its legacy and the voices that created that legacy are still relevant today. Perhaps more than ever."
"This isn't exactly how I thought it was going to end up. I'm still trying to save The Village Voice," he said, proceeding to thank his staff for their "amazing grit" and professionalism.
News of the publication's closing created an outpouring of nostalgic tweets from journalists familiar with the newspaper. One user, Valerie Vande Panne, who had previously written for the newsweekly tweeted, "Friend just turned in his news piece, was told by his editor there was good news: He's the journalist with the last news story to appear in the Voice. That's also, the editor said, the bad news."