Editor leaves Village Voice two weeks after fabrication case
NEW YORK – The acting editor in chief of The Village Voice has left the weekly alternative newspaper, two weeks after overseeing the publication of an issue that contained fabricated material.The Voice announced the departure of Doug Simmons on its Web site by posting a photograph of a paper napkin bearing a handwritten note from Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media.”Doug Simmons is no longer acting editor,” the napkin said. “Ward Harkavy, longtime senior editor and Arizona crony, is now interim editor. Call us tomorrow for next update.”In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, Lacey confirmed Simmons was out but declined to say whether he quit or was fired. He also wouldn’t say whether the change was related to the paper’s retracted March 1-7 cover story, a look at the New York dating scene by writer Nick Sylvester.Almost immediately after its publication, the Voice revealed Sylvester had fabricated anecdotes for the article, including a section that purported to describe a real-life television writer cruising for women at a bar.The screenwriter threatened a lawsuit. Sylvester was suspended, and the Voice apologized for “shoddy journalism.”Simmons’ departure is the latest in an exodus after the merger of the Voice with New Times Media, another publisher of alternative weekly newspapers.The Voice’s editor in chief for nine years, Don Forst, quit in December. Publisher Judy Miszner resigned in January. Simmons, previously the Voice’s managing editor, had been Forst’s interim successor. Simmons could not immediately be located for comment.Harkavy, a senior editor who wrote in the 1990s for the Phoenix New Times, said he had no interest in assuming the post permanently.Vail, Colorado
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