Pennsylvania Investor Peter Barbey Buys the Village Voice


Voice Media Group, the parent company of the Village Voice, announced today that it has sold the paper to Black Walnut Holdings, a company owned by Reading Pennsylvania-based investor and newspaper owner Peter D. Barbey.

VMG, which has owned the Voice since January 2013, will continue to run the publication through February. Terms of the deal have not been made public. “During a time of great challenges and great opportunities in the industry, we’re thrilled that we’ve found an experienced journalist and operator with such considerable resources to take the reins at the Voice,” VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias said in a press release. “We truly love and respect our staff at the Voice, and it’s fulfilling to know they’ll be in good hands.”

Barbey is the president of the Reading Eagle Company, a family-owned media company that has published newspapers in Pennsylvania for more than 200 years. Both Barbey and VMG said that upon assuming control of the Voice in 2016, the two companies will maintain a collaborative editorial relationship, sharing their award-winning film and television coverage. VMG will also continue to sell national advertising for the Voice.

“We were impressed with VMG’s professionalism and creativity, and we wanted to continue to partner with them on concepts that are beneficial to readers and our clients,” Barbey said in a statement.

The Voice this month will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer. Originally covering only Greenwich Village, the Voice expanded its reach in the 1960s to include all five boroughs. Over the years, the paper has won Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting, and this year film critic Stephanie Zacharek became a finalist for the award.

“The Voice has gone through changes for 60 years,” says Voice editor-in-chief Tom Finkel. “We have a great staff here, and now we’ll have a new owner — one who’s in a position to help us get even better.” 

“The Village Voice continues to be one of America’s great newspaper stories, and, to me, the Voice belongs to New York much more than it belongs to any individual owner,” Barbey said. “The Voice deserves to be the best it can be.”