Saturday, January 3, 2009

A sad sign of the times

It’s no secret that with the economy in the toilet, and circulation and ad revenue at troubling lows, the newspaper industry has been reeling for more than a year. One of the most troubling effects, learned this week, was the year-end layoff of three Village Voice employees – one of them being the exteemed Nat Hentoff, a Voice fixture for 50 years. That’s right, Nat Hentoff, whom many would argue was the village voice in 20th century America.

His columns about jazz and civil liberties always have been on point, enlightening and solidly developed. And he has been a passionate advocate of support for musicians in financial need with his writings about the Jazz Musicians’ Emergency Fund.

The end of Hentoff’s tenure with the Village Voice was reported this week in the New York Times (see Village Voice Lays Off Nat Hentoff and 2 Others).

Fortunately for the world at-large, Hentoff’s syndicated columns and jazz writings will continue in other venues. The owners of the Village Voice have no idea what a large void they have created in their weekly publication.