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Two Longtime Writers Out at the Village Voice

Wayne Barrett ousted; Tom Robbins to follow friend out the door

Big inside New York media-ball story of the day: Wayne Barrett, a 32-year veteran of the Village Voice and well-read political columnist, is out at the legendary alternative newsweekly.

Tom Robbins, Barrett’s friend and another longtime Voice columnist, will leave at the end of January.

Barrett announced his departure — and Robbins’ pending one — in a column published on the Voice website on Tuesday.

“I have written, by my own inexact calculation, more column inches than anyone in the history of the Voice,” Barrett wrote. “These will be my last. I am 65 and a half now, and it is time for something new. If I didn't see that, others did.”

Barrett continued:

The paper has always been more than an employer to me. I turned down other jobs that paid better three times to stay here. Though my mentor [Jack] Newfield used to say we got our owners "from office temporaries," and though I worked for 14 different editors, the Voice was always a place where I could express my voice. And that meant more to me than larger circulations or greater influence or bigger paychecks.

When Robbins “heard I was leaving,” Barrett wrote, “he quit himself and didn't even tell me he was.”

"I'm going out with the guy who brought me to the dance," Barrett said Robbins told him.

The Voice employs about 25 full-time editorial staffers — including Michael Feingold and Jim Hoberman, both 30-plus year veterans of the paper. Legendary jazz critic Nat Hentoff, now a freelancer, has spent more than 52 writing for the Voice.

In an interview with TheWrap, Voice editor-in-chief Tony Ortega said he will hire a metro editor to replace Robbins, and is elevating web editor Camille Dodero (who wrote an amazing cover story last summer on the Insane Clown Posse's annual Gathering of the Juggalos) to staff writer, though Ortega said will not be taking over Barrett’s specific reporting duties. Zach Baron will become web editor.