At last, two gigantic David Blum post-mortems. Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar—who needs to learn that it's not all hugs and kisses in this business—seems to think Blum has been tarred as a racist, when he should really have been tarred as an incompetent. (Actually, she doesn't say that. Apparently, he sure was nice when he edited her "SNL" piece. He was pretty helpful while she was writing this essay, too.) The Observer's Michael Calderone, leaning more heavily on reporting than analysis, supports the hell out of the "couldn't edit a bus ticket" theory.
Calderone notes that Blum "seemed more at ease with recent hires, plucked from Columbia's journalism school—where he has worked as an adjunct—than with the strong-willed Voice lifers." Tony Ortega, the new Voice head, comes off as the ultimate company man, not just for his ability to follow the [piece of shit—Ed.] New Times model for an alt-weekly, but also for the fact that, whatever Mike Lacey is selling, he'll be first in line to buy.
Poor Blum. New Times talked to Ortega "weeks" ago about coming to New York. But best of all: When the New Times dudes come to town from Phoenix? They insist on reservations at the Waverly Inn. Of course they do.
We're not going to get into a whole "our sources at the paper" pissing match, but here's what you need to know: David Blum was not the right hire. You cannot afford to let someone learn on the job, even at a paper whose reputation has diminished as badly as the Voice's has. It's hard enough to edit a weekly with the most calcified staff outside of the New Criterion's; it's that much more difficult when you're a neophyte in the spotlight. Ortega, rightly or wrongly, will bring the Voice into line with the rest of the company's titles, and hard. So the Voice will start to look like every other alt-weekly in America. Big deal. New York is starting to look like every other city in America; why shouldn't we have a crappy free paper that reflects that as well?