3:27 pm Sep. 28, 20123
It's only been a week since Tony Ortega's last day as editor-in-chief of The Village Voice, which is searching for a successor under a newly formed parent company in which the Voice will no longer share business with the controversial classified website Backpage.com.
But Ortega is already filing stories elsewhere on his signature Scientology beat, which had increasingly become the focus of his attention in the late stages of his tenure at the Voice. Ortega announced on Sept. 14 that he was leaving the paper to work on a book proposal on the subject.
Ortega sold a Scientology story to the Dallas Morning News, which published his byline on Sept. 23 as a "special contributor." The piece was about a Texas-based "lawsuit that accuses the Church of Scientology of spending millions of dollars over the past 24 years to spy on one man."
He also unveiled a new blog today, "The Underground Bunker." There are only two posts so far, but 70 comments on them at the time of this writing—presumably Ortega's large readership of Scientology defectors has already followed him over to his new digital digs.
I emailed him to ask whether we might soon see his reportage popping up in other publications.
His answer: "You'll just have to wait and see."
Nor did he have much to say about leaving the paper he ran for the past six years through a series of ups and downs.
"I think it's great that the Village Voice newspapers are separating from Backpage," he said. "I hope they thrive as a result."
From 2005 up until this week, the Voice had been owned by Village Voice Media, formerly known as New Times Media prior to its acquisition of the iconic title.
On Monday, a group of Village Voice Media executives announced that they had raised private investment capital to purchase the Voice and its 12 sister titles under a new holding company called Voice Media Group. Erstwhile Village Voice Media honchos Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin will continue to operate the other media property their company had spawned, the classified website Backpage.com. The site has come under fire for its alleged ties to child sex-trafficking, and advertisers had been pulling out of the company as a result.
As for who will replace Ortega at Voice Media's flagship brand, company brass are looking for a New York-based candidate, according to an ad posted recently on the website Journalism Jobs.
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