“I rather doubt that,” said Lucian K. Truscott IV, one of the hard-charging political writers for the Voice in its heyday, who came to the event from Sag Harbor, sporting his old press pass. “I gave them the opportunity to hire me last year but I don’t fit in with their demographics,” added the 70-year-old who now writes for Salon. “They’ve got a very young readership. It’s more culture now.”
Investigative reporter Lucy Komisar began writing for the paper in 1964 when she covered the 1964 Democratic Convention, encouraged by the late Jack Newfield, a fixture at the Voice for decades. She told us that the left-leaning paper that she knew “ended a long time ago. They stopped doing the kind of journalism I was interested in. They got into selling ads for rock concerts and things like that. I would read it for one thing, like Wayne Barrett,” she went on, alluding to the late investigative Voice reporter who died earlier this year. “And now he’s gone.”Clark Whelton, an East Village resident who began writing for the Voice in the 1960s, seemed to agree with those POVs. He said the old Voice covered “local” events, including community board meetings, noting his first story for the paper was about a fire on Avenue A. Whelton went on to become a speechwriter for Mayor Ed Koch, and also for his successor Rudy Giuliani. He told us that Koch “used to be a lawyer for the Voice,” adding a bit of political lore to his comments.
Daily Beast special correspondent Michael Tomasky, one of the organizers for the gathering of alums, said the “motivating factor” was the deaths of writers Nat Hentoff and Wayne Barrett within ten days of each other in January, “particularly the circumstances of Wayne’s passing. He died the day before the inauguration” of Donald Trump.
Among those at the gathering was 94-year-old Ed Fancher, one of the founders along with Norman Mailer and Dan Wolf. Asked whether such old-timers would even recognize the Voice as it is today, Tomasky said, “The community that arose to create the Voice has been dispersed. I was only there for five years, from 1990 to 1995, but I was never prouder to be part of it.”