After 25 Years, Village Voice Publisher Cohen Steps Down

Village Voice Publisher Michael Cohen is preparing to exit the free alt-weekly after nearly 25 years. He’ll be replaced by Village Voice Media veteran Josh Fromson, who is currently publisher of the SF Weekly. Fromson is resigning that post and moving from San Francisco and to New York.

Cohen will stay on for a transitional period through April 1. His departure comes a few weeks after the Village Voice lost two prominent investigative reporters, Wayne Barrett, who was being let go because the paper couldn’t afford his six-figure salary, and Tom Robbins, who quit as a sign of solidarity.

Still, despite the financial strain that led to Barrett’s departure, Jim Larkin, VVM Holdings’ CEO, praised Cohen for helping the Village Voice “firmly profitable and poised to grow again.”

The Village Voice’s parent company has been particularly active on the online publishing side. For example, last fall, VVM’s Voice Local Media continued branching out its online ad activities, agreeing to handle a portion of local blog network Gothamist’s New York-based ad sales. VVM launched VLN in mid-2009. In addition to Gothamist, VLN works with other publisher partners including Curbed.com, Eater.com, Checkoutmyink.com, Urbanspoon, social recommendation engine LikeMe.Net.

Cohen has been in alternative media ever since graduating from the University of Maryland in 1983. He has published or launched alternative weeklies in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Miami, and has overseen as many as five additional publications as a group publisher with the VVM group.