The Village Voice and Alternative Press

The Village Voice, an example of alternative press, was founded over 50 years ago to express a divergent voice that was anti-establishment and that spoke out against authority.   Now, the publication is still circulating and seems to have fully integrated itself into the mainstream. Angela Phillips identifies alternative press as one that “continually interacts with the mainstream” (Coyer, 47), and the newspaper seems to have done just that.  Its success prior to 2005, when it was bought by a major publishing company, could be based upon its desire to not only be heard, but to express opinions and write stories that mattered to a larger group of people.

I think that the paper was able to achieve success because of its “solidarity of engagement between those who write and those who read” (Coyer, 57).  This means that this type of alternative word based media ensured support because its divergent voice was one that was recognized and understood by others.  It took advantage of the dissenting opinions of society and played upon them in its material.  As opposed to blogs, the Village Voice focused more on creating material that, while divergent, created a sense of belonging and like-mindedness between the readers and the authors.  It was not simply based on the expression of an opinion, but on forming a relationship with others who shared that opinion.  It was not just about being heard, but on allowing others to feel that their voices were also being heard. I feel that the paper now includes many pop culture aspects that once were ignored in an effort to fully coincide with the mainstream, not to maintain readership by identifying with broader audience needs, but to appease New Times Media.  The Village Voice was acquired by New Times Media in 2005 and since then has undoubtedly geared its content more toward the mainstream; however, I do feel that the paper does still have a voice of its own, including blogs and stories that have rather interesting titles. Its success over the past 50 years prior to backing from such a publishing powerhouse could be the fact that it differentiated itself from other alternative press by paying close attention to the public consciousness and gearing its material to this in order to engage its readers.  I don’t think that The Village Voice would still be considered alternative media anymore due to its acquisition and imposed regulation.  What does everyone else think?



One comment

  1. This is some astute commentary, Alexandra. The Village Voice, while I sometimes think it can run a bit on the sensationalist side, is I think still a great example of non-mainstream word-based (and multi-) media.

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