'Voice' Change: Schneiderman Out, Jensen In
David Schneiderman, former CEO of the old Village Voice Media and more recently boss of the 17-paper chain's digital operations, has resigned.
In a pair of e-mail messages today, the company announced the exit of Schneiderman and the entrance of Bill Jensen, lately editor of the Boston Phoenix but with his own roots in both Village Voice Media and New Times. According to the Phoenix, Jensen was offered the editor-in-chief job of the Voice this year but turned it down.
Moving on: Schneiderman, who got married just a few weeks ago, wrote that he's tired of living in hotels and on airplanes. (photo by Staci Schwartz)
Reached at his office in Boston, Jensen said he's looking forward to adding Web staff for all the papers and getting daily content on all the sites. That content, he said, will include video, podcasting, and text messaging. As for the tone of the content itself, he said the Web sites will remain intensely local.
"The sites will be hyper-local and relevant to each community," he said. "Everybody's got to care of their own backyard."
A call to Schneiderman wasn't immediately returned. We'll update this item when we hear from him. For now, after the jump, the corporate e-mail announcements.
From chairman and chief executive officer Jim Larkin:
To all Village Voice Media staff:
David Schneiderman has resigned as President, Village Voice Media effective today, October 25, 2006. David has a storied history with VVM; a former editor-in-chief at the Village Voice and CEO of Village Voice, he provided the institutional impetus that helped create the six-paper Voice chain which merged earlier this year with New Times. It is in large part thanks to his leadership and vision that VVM exists in its present form, and in the past nine months he has helped position our Web sites to be editorially and financially successful moving forward. Now that that work is done, David has decided to move on and explore other opportunities, and we wish him well. Schneiderman says, "After living in hotels and on airplanes for the last ten years, I look forward to pursuing business ventures closer to home. I have greatly enjoyed my time with the new Village Voice Media and wish my colleagues success in their online and print endeavors."
And this, from Larkin and executive editor Michael Lacey
Subject: Important Announcement from Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey
October 26, 2006
To: All Village Voice Media Employees
From: Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey
We are pleased to announce that our new director of Web and digital operations is Bill Jensen, the now-former editor of the Boston Phoenix and a friend of the company since he wrote the spectacular true-crime story "Hardcore and Bleeding" for Miami New Times in 2004.
Bill assumes his new role immediately, and his arrival coincides with a major expansion of staffing as we move to hire a new group of dedicated Web editors and designers. Those editors and designers will report to Bill, and will provide a huge shot of forward momentum in our Web strategy as we move to make our award-winning editorial content available through a multimedia spectrum including mobile technology and ground-level video production.
"Village Voice Media has the best storytellers in journalism on the ground in seventeen cities," says Jensen. "The opportunity to enhance the stories they tell each week in new ways, with new media tools, while at the same time providing compelling hourly content, is my charge."
Those of you who are careful readers will recall that Bill's "Hardcore and Bleeding" went on to be named "Best in Print" in the 2005 Green Eyeshade Awards. It was only one of many award-winning stories he has written or edited, including "My Dad Kicked Your Ass at Shea Stadium: A Baseball Memoir," which received a "notable mention" in the 1999 version of Houghton Mifflin's Best American Sportswriting anthology.
Jensen started his working life as a professional roller hockey player with the New York Riot, but it was as a journalist that he cut his teeth, starting as a writer and editor at the Long Island Voice. After the Voice folded, he contributed stories to Newsday and The New York Times, and edited two pop-culture magazines before being hired as managing editor of the weekly Long Island Press. Wooed away by the Phoenix last year, he quickly ascended to the lead editor's role, and during his tenure oversaw a rebuild of thephoenix.com that added seven new blogs, next-day concert reviews, narrated slide shows, and enhanced audio and visual content.
Bill also pushed the Phoenix into new media frontiers including original video production, a key example of which is the paper's cutting-edge coverage of an underground nighttime bicycle race in Boston. Under his leadership, the Phoenix saw the biggest increase in readership in its history, a 26 percent gain over six months. More to the point, page views on its Web site jumped from 1 million to 1.6 million per month.
Over the next few days and weeks, Bill, his wife Kendall, and their two children, ages eight and six, will be preparing to leave Boston and move to a Village Voice city, probably either Phoenix or Denver. Many of you will be hearing from him shortly; please welcome him when you get the chance.