Thursday, January 24, 2008

In a Dying Industry, Alt-Weeklies Have More Crises of Faith

It seems New York's two major alternative weeklies, the Village Voice and New York Press, continue to appear to have ethical lapses, despite new editors at each.

Just today, Jezebel published a post comparing the New York Press' brand-new sex-advice column to a previously published column by nationally syndicated sex-advice guru Dan Savage (who, ironically, appears in the pages of the Voice). According to them, it smells a little fishy:

Claudia Lonow's column in NYP:

Yo, Lonow:
My girlfriend and I have been living together for two years, and we're beginning to talk about marriage and kids. I love her, but I'm beginning to be weirded out by her relationship with her brother. They're always touching in each other. (continues here....)

Dan Savage's 2006 column:

Here's one for you: My girlfriend and I have been living together for two years, and we've talked about marriage and kids. Like all relationships, ours wasn't perfect. But what really bothered me was my girlfriend's relationship with her brother. They were touchy-feely in a way that felt inappropriate. (continues here...)

If you keep reading, it gets a little too similar to rule out plagiarism for my taste.

On the other hand, the Voice had its own problems a few weeks ago, when its new art critic had some unethical (or at the least, unprofessional) connections to the very subject he was critiquing:

"It has been brought to our attention that Christian has been named managing director of two upcoming commercial art fairs, one in New York (Volta) and one in Chicago (Next). Christian assures us that the consulting work he is doing for those fairs does not conflict with anything he has written for us or would write in the future, and he has demonstrated to us that besides being an excellent and highly readable critic, he’s also a man of integrity. But we’re concerned that his work outside the Voice at least creates an appearance of conflict...he will cease writing for us."

Hmm. If alt-weeklies think they face problems from mergers on high, they should probably look on down to their own newsrooms first. Bottom line? It's not looking good for these two. Next time either post a job requirements list, "ethics" should probably be at the top.


Anonymous said...

"a little too similar to rule out plagiarism" - this is like saying Hiroshima was a little too decimated to rule out a nuclear attack.

The Editorialiste said...


True, and true. Poor and clunky word choice. The sentence has been changed to better reflect the sentiment behind it.

However, the jury's still out on its implication, I'm afraid.

Thanks for calling me out, and thank you for reading.

The Editorialiste.