As reported by Gothamist, and confirmed to me by a current employee, the Village Voice is officially and immediately shutting down. After a more than 60-year history of some of the most important journalism and cultural criticism in New York City, the venerable alternative weekly (which ceased publication of its print edition last summer but continued on in online form until today) is suddenly, simply extinct. Its current owner, Peter Barbey, announced the news to the staff today:

‘Today is kind of a sucky day,’ Barbey told the staff, according to audio obtained by Gothamist. ‘Due to, basically, business realities, we're going to stop publishing Village Voice new material.’

I later received this statement from Barbey, via a publicist:

In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realities facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination ... We have begun working to ensure that the enormous print archive of The Village Voice is made digitally accessible. I began my involvement with the Voice intending to ensure its future. While this is not the outcome I’d hoped for and worked towards, a fully digitized Voice archive will offer coming generations a chance to experience for themselves what is clearly one of this city’s and this country’s social and cultural treasures.

The end of the Voice is a massive blow to everyone in New York, but it’s particularly painful for film lovers. The Village Voice is one of the most important publications in the history of cinema; its roster of critics through the years included the likes of Jonas Mekas, Andrew Sarris, J. Hoberman, Amy Taubin, Georgia Brown, Dennis Lim, Michael Atkinson, and many more. On a personal level, I read it obsessively in graduate school, and it eventually became the first respectable publication of any kind that let me write for it while I interned there during grad school. I got to contribute film reviews, personal essays, and even write about superhero comics. I wouldn’t have this job without the Village Voice. I probably wouldn’t have any job in the film world without it.

The Voice began bouncing around between owners and editors while I was there in the middle of the last decade, but the film section has remained vital thanks to film editor Alan Scherstuhl and critics like Stephanie Zacharek (now at Time), Melissa Anderson, and Bilge Ebiri, and others. It was one of the few places still writing about local retrospectives and small independent movies. The film world, both in New York and around the world, won’t be the same without The Village Voice. This truly, epically sucks.

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