has a new corporate owner, dear readers: Voice Media Group
. And that means we've severed our ties with Backpage.com
, a classifieds site with a controversial "adult" section.
But our content shall remain unchanged!
Last night, the move was explained
by our former managing editor Sarah Fenske
. She's now editor-in-chief at our sister paper, LA Weekly
, but everything she says about her own publication applies to us:
Since October 2005, this newspaper has been owned by Phoenix-based
Village Voice Media. Tonight, it was announced that the Weekly, along
with the dozen other alternative newsweeklies in the chain, has been
sold to a new, Denver-based entity in a management buyout: Voice Media
The new company represents a split: The old company's
Phoenix-based executives, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, retain ownership
of the website Backpage.com. But Lacey and Larkin have confirmed the
buyout of the 13 alternative newsweeklies that comprised Village Voice
Media's most visible face.
The new entity, Denver-based Voice
Media Group -- which will be run by Christine Brennan, Scott Tobias and
Jeff Mars -- has also taken ownership of the company's national
advertising division, now to be called VMG National.
Denver owners previously served in high-ranking functions for Village
Voice Media. Brennan, the company's longtime executive managing editor,
will ascend to executive editor. Tobias, who had been Village Voice
Media's chief operating officer, now becomes CEO. And Mars, formerly
vice president of financial operations, is to be chief financial officer
of the new company.
What this all means to you, dear reader? Not
much. Our L.A.-based staff will continue printing the truth and raising
hell. None of us in intend to go anywhere: You can still read all our
great arts coverage, hard-hitting investigative pieces, and
award-winning food criticism. (In fact, we suggest you pick up this
week's issue: It's going to be a doozy.)
The main difference? The
L.A. Weekly is no longer part of the same stable as Backpage.com, which
has come under fire in recent years for its role in facilitating
sexually based advertising. Backpage ads already no longer appear on
this website, and Voice Media Group will be a separate entity.
a statement to staff members, Lacey and Larkin indicated their desire
to continue to fight for Backpage.com's existence, saying they "depart
to devote our undivided attention to the defense of Backpage." The pair
were part of the founding of Phoenix New Times in 1970 and acquired the
Weekly, as well as the Village Voice, in 2005.
Voice Media Group claims readership of 94 million pages views each month and 3.14 million weekly print circulation.