(UPDATED) After eight years as editor in chief, Laurie Ochoa is leaving LA Weekly as Village Voice Media severs more of its own legacy.

It's unclear who instigated the move. But VVM didn't make life easy for Ochoa.

Critics say LA Weekly's quality began declining after it was merged into New Times (now VVM) in 2005. The alt-newspaper chain reportedly went over Ochoa's head in late 2006 to install an unpopular news editor.

There's no word yet on what Ochoa's next move is — and the Weekly has no replacement lined up.

UPDATE: Marc Cooper, a former LA Weekly senior editor now on faculty at USC, writes:

It was inevitable. Laurie defied laws of gravity for four years. She protected the little she could and kept the peace. When everyone was gone and she was no longer needed they disposed of her as well.

(Again, we haven't verified that this was VVM's decision.)

(Pic: Ochoa, right, celebrates a Pulitzer Prize for food critic Jonathan Gold, left. Via On The Media.)