Players: The Village Voice, a counter-culture icon founded by Greenwich Village beatniks in 1955; The New York Observer, a salmon-hued weekly founded by an Upper East Side financier at the very tail end of the 1980s boom.
The Opening Serve: Kat Stoeffel's New York Observer article "Alt-’s Not Dead! But Are Downtown Alt-Weeklies Headed for Retirement?" details the struggles of rivals (for advertising dollars if not always editorial tone) like The Voice, New York Press and Time Out New York. It looked at The Voice's relentless coverage of the Press's editorial revolving door. "That the story broke in The Village Voice, once the Press’s newsprint nemesis, didn’t merit much attention," she wrote. "Both papers have bigger antagonists these days," like the challenge of the web and the gentrification of Manhattan. Her article ended on a not-very-hopeful note: "Alt-weeklies have to contend not only with a changing media landscape, but with such sweeping demographic shifts as well. As [Press publisher Tom] Allon noted of the sort of New Yorkers who were once the core readers of such titles, 'All those people have moved to Brooklyn.'"
Voice editor Tony Ortega took to Twitter in the morning to take issue with the story. "Funny how a pub that's gone through 4 editors recently yet again brings up that we went though several--five YEARS ago. Sigh," he wrote. Minutes later he questioned the tone of the article: "So the Press is about to close, Time Out was slashed and sold, and the Voice [is] still making money. Funny how the story didn't read that way," and added, "The Observer has been whiplashed by change by change and is hanging by a thread, so I know it's therapeutic to dump on us. Really, I don't mind."