The New Yorker Botches the History of the Alternative Press

january 6, 2009  12:20 pm
In a passage in Louis Menand's piece on the Village Voice, the New Yorker critic claimed that "after 1970, the alternative press died out" after "mainstream publications moved into the field." Russ Smith corrects the record: "Menand is apparently unaware that radical 'underground' papers like The Los Angeles Free Press and Berkeley Barb begat a new kind of weekly, papers like The Chicago Reader, Phoenix New Times and L.A. Weekly, which, until recently, were staples in their respective cities and not only produced excellent journalism but made a lot of money as well," Smith writes on his new website, Splice Today. The "sloppy article ... certainly muddies the history of not only The Village Voice, but also the weeklies that it inspired."