It's an end of an era for one of city's best known newspapers. The Village Voice announced Tuesday it's ending its print edition and will soon only be available online. Our Michael Scotto has the details.
For 62 years, the Village Voice has been a staple in the city - covering politics, government and culture, and for decades, personifying the downtown neighborhood where it was founded.
But soon the Village Voice will end its weekly print edition and publish only online. Tom Robbins wrote for the paper until 2011.
"It hurt to hear it because The Voice — the physical paper was such a presence in the city," Robbins said.
A presence because the paper was once known for groundbreaking reporting.
Founded in 1955 by a group that included Norman Mailer, The Voice established itself as a political and cultural force.
Muckrackers like Robbins, Wayne Barrett and Jack Newfield uncovered misdeeds that, for example, helped to topple Ed Koch's mayoralty.
But it wasn't just the reporting that grabbed attention.
The Voice was once thick with classified and personal ads — that is, until the Internet took them all away.
"That's how half of New York found jobs, apartments, dates," Robbins said. "Literally you would see people waiting online for the first edition of the paper to appear.
In that paper were columnists who gave context to the times.
Like Nat Hentoff — who wrote about jazz and civil liberties.
And Michael Musto whose columns threw a spotlight on the downtown nightlife scene.
But The Voice could not avoid the problems sweeping print journalism.
In 1996 The Voice switched to free distribution.
But the continued erosion of ads forced a never-ending cycle of layoffs and ownership changes.
Musto was laid off in 2013, but is now back as a freelance writer. He is hopeful.
"I think it's a vital force," Musto said. "There are plenty of publications that are web only or that focus mainly on the web. That's how The Voice will go. It's not over.
The paper's current owner, a Pennsylvania millionaire, says he will invest in the website and new reporters. The hope is this new focus will revitalize the name.
But to many New Yorkers, it is the end of an era. There's no word on when the last print edition will be distributed and boxes like this one will no longer be part of the cityscape — gone like The Village Voice newspaper.