Gawker hears a bit more detail about what soured Erik Wemple on the job of running the Village Voice under Mike Lacey and the New Timesniks. Yesterday, you might remember, it was reported that Wemple quit soon after meeting with staffers.
From what we hear, Wemple held a two-hour meeting with the staff that went reasonably well until staffers asked if the paper would be asked to use other New Times writers. Wemple said that bringing in outside writers wasn’t in his plans, but the staff informed him the practice has already been imposed, as the Voice has been more or less forced to use film and music reruns from other New Times papers. That’s where things started to sour, because Wemple looked absolutely shocked that this had been going on. He also said he wanted to focus on more arts reporting and criticism, unaware that the arts sections had been significantly reduced.
Long story short, the New Times has hacked things up to the point where the Voice is no longer the paper Wemple thought he was signing up for. Management wanted Wemple, who’d been assured of autonomy — but then he got smacked with an alternate reality upon arriving in New York.
The lesson won't be lost on the incumbents at the LA Weekly, thought to be next* on Lacey's list of priorities. (* Maybe not literally next, but somewhere on the list as the new chain's other big property.)