Sunday, June 18, 2006

You'll Never Clear Your Desk Alone

It's not just in Ireland that matters to do with the arts are vulnerable to being sidelined by the media. One of the biggest media stories here this week concerned Erik Wemple, the newly-appointed editor of the Village Voice, who, on Thursday, "changed his mind" about taking the job and went back to Washington, where he was previously editor of the City Paper.

What could possibly have forced him to make this drastic decision, given that he'd just accomplished an enviable jump up the career ladder? Some vague noises about ”management differences” were made in the aftermath of the announcement. But turns out that our old friend, De Arts, may really have been the reason for Wemple's sudden exit, as Gawker explains:

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.

You can’t blame him for walking right back out the door.

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