We've been waiting for weeks! Keach Hagey's debut as the Village Voice media critic has finally arrived. It's been perhaps overshadowed by some other events at the Voice recently, but even someone with a G.E.D. can recognize that this is an important event. The post-feminist electroclash-loving young lady has got some big, and often old, shoes to fill: Press Clips has previously been home to such folks as Syd Schanberg, Cynthia Cotts, and James Ledbetter. Let's grade her first column together!

The column's main item is a lengthy examination of the Times's coverage of the health issues associated with first responders at Ground Zero.

Here's a quick summary: Zzzzzz.

Seriously, this is some boring-ass shit. Boo hoo hoo, the Times didn't take the health risks seriously enough! The piece is pretty much classic Voice. It is whiny, self-righteous , and earnest in the same way as those antiwar protesters in Union Square that you want to strike in the head with a chunk of pavement. Even Syd Schanberg put more color into his endless and irritating (yet carefully researched!) fifteen-part series on the massive failings of the Bush administration.

The second item concerns the ouster of the Voice's own Keach-promoting David Blum. Essentially the post she wrote after the defenestration but with some added PR for new editor Tony Ortega as window-dressing, it has the advantage over the previous item of being shorter, and thus less incredibly fucking boring. Still, this is a tricky position for any reporter to be in. Ask James Rainey at the LA Times, who's been covering their parent company, Tribune. Yikes. Anyway, also, Keach gets a couple of quotes from Village Voice Media head Michael Lacey, who may be a megalomaniacal dictator hell-bent on forcing every one of his papers into the same cookie-cutter image, but one who knows how to liven up an article with a decent soundbite or two. Plus—he wouldn't talk to anyone else! So we guess it's an exclusive?
RATING: We feel your pain. For now.

Rough inning, sure, but it's just the first go. We'll check back next week. Hopefully Keach will take the time to read some of the Cotts columns, which were constantly enlivened by the fact that Cynthia was kinda crazy. You could do worse, kiddo. Hell, we all could!

The Haze Over 43rd Street [VV]