Village Voice's New Editor: The Giuliani of Journalism? (Updated 6/16)
The political and cultural coverage in "alternative" weeklies such as the Village Voice tends to be even more left-leaning than that of the MSM, but the Voice, probably America's best known alt-weekly, is likely to become less tendentious under its incoming editor, Erik Wemple.
Wemple, who takes the helm at the Voice in late July, has been the editor of Washington City Paper since early 2002. (The politically eclectic City Paper long has been one of the exceptions to the left-wing alt-weekly rule.) He recently told the New York Times, "My ideology...preaches loyalty to the great story. I really don't care if a story begins with leftist sympathies, and I really don't care if a story begins from a more conservative set of sympathies. If it's a great story, we're going to report it out."
In late 2004, Wemple commented to CJR Daily that in terms of “whatever malaise might exist in the alt-weekly industry, I think that what goes on is that oftentimes the stories are very predictable. Alt-weeklies do descend from a certain tradition where it's no surprise that the editorial is slamming Bush or endorsing Kerry or Nader. And it's no surprise that on the gentrification issue of the day, the alt-weekly sides with the people being displaced and calls the landlord evil. And it's no surprise that when abortion becomes an issue, that the alt-weekly is particularly snide to the right-to-lifers…[T]he worst thing that a paper can be is predictable."
Fifteen years ago, it seemed most unlikely that New York would elect a non-liberal as mayor, but it soon happened. Whatever Wemple’s own politics, if he makes the Voice less predictably leftist, he could become the journalistic version of the paradigm-busting Rudy Giuliani.
UPDATE, June 16: Wemple isn't joining the Voice after all. Maybe it's even harder to find parking in Greenwich Village than it is in Adams Morgan.