The Village Voice today announced the hiring of Brian McManus as its new music editor, according to a post on the New York City alt-weekly's blog. He starts a week from today on Sept. 24.
McManus replaces Maura Johnston who was let go by Village Voice Media last Friday.
McManus, according to the blog post, is a former music editor at the Philadelphia Weekly and has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, SF Weekly and the Chicago Reader. He is also the author of the book Philadelphia's Best Dive Bars.
The storied alt-weekly's influential music section has a long tradition of being something of a hotbed for talented music editors and writers. Its most recent music editors include Robert Christgau, Chuck Eddy, Joe Levy (current Billboard editor) and Rob Harvilla. Some of the paper's better known music scribes who have passed through its pages, include: Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Ken Tucker, Tom Carson, Stanley Crouch, Jon Pareles, Greg Tate, Nelson George, Kyle Gann, Rob Sheffield, dream hampton, Ann Powers, Simon Reynolds, Sasha Frere-Jones and many others.
Over the last month or so the paper has lost a number of staffers, including Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega whose departure was announced the same day as Johnston's. In early-August three editorial staffers were laid off and one was made part-time. Earlier in the year Jim Hoberman, the paper's longtime and widely-respected film critic since 1988, was laid off.
Since the New Times bought the Village Voice in 2005 and changed its name to Village Voice Media, many have criticized the new-ish regime's staffing decisions as long time writers and editors were let go (Tom Robbins, Wayne Barrett, Nat Hentoff, J. Hoberman and Lynn Yaeger among others) and replaced by less-experienced staff or not replaced at all. Others, however, point to a larger decline at alt-weeklies as a result of the Internet cutting into advertising and classified ad revenues, the rise of free newspapers and dwindling readerships. Whatever the case, ye olde alternative weekly's best days may very well lie in the past.