The Mario Blog
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print

What designer of a certain age has not been inspired by that greatly experimental publication, The Village Voice. It published its last print edition Sept. 20. Some of the art directors have reminisced. Interesting stuff here.

For some of us at the start of our careers in visual journalism, one of the most frequently consulted “textbooks” was, without any doubt, The Village Voice. Indeed, for some of my journalism professors in the 1960s, it was an institution, a go to reference guide to the best headlines, with the most inviting headlines, and, of course, visuals that the daily newspapers of the day would not dare welcome into their pages.

Sadly, The Voice published its final print edition Sept. 20, and with it volumes of great design, memorable illustrations, headlines that never failed to seduce, and visual surprises that still surprise, some of them decades later. Founded in 1955 (Norman Mailer was one of the founders) ,The Voice was a haven for photographers, designers, illustrators, cartoonists and anyone who believed in messages presented visually.  The Voice also invented the concept of the alternative newspaper. Lead stories always carried headlines that made one stop to read:


The print edition of The Voice had recently suffered from a malady common to many other newspapers: declining advertising revenue that had migrated from print to digital,  especially classified ads that have virtually disappeared from print in the United States.

Fortunately, The Voice will continue to publish digitally. The tradition of good journalism continues.

Here is the final print edition cover of The Village Voice, with photograph by Fred W. McDarrah, art director: Ashley Smestad Vélez. It carries Bob Dylan on the cover. For an editor’s note on the farewell printed edition


Editor Stephen Mooallem wrote:

In thinking about the September 20, 2017, edition of the Voice, which is the last weekly print edition, I’ve done my share of leafing. I’d liken the experience to watching the life of a city flash before your eyes — except that, with the Voice, it’s hard not to slow down and get lost in individual moments.

He added:

“,,,,,the Voice, in its heyday — and when that was depends on who you ask — was a prime mover of the tectonic variety, and it attracted revolutionaries. The Voice tackled subjects that no one else did in ways that no one else would. If you were a politician, a real estate developer, a wealthy industrialist, a would-be art, music, or film star, or anyone deemed to be of dubious intent or motive, the Voice could be brutal. If you were marginalized, mistreated, ill, poor, a victim of injustice, or an activist or advocate for those who were, the Voice could be a beacon. At its best — and sometimes, its worst — the paper has been a combustible melting pot of people, ideas, and ambitions. The Voice changed the course of journalism, elections, court cases, legislation, political careers, popular culture, lives, loves, and New York itself.”


Art directors reminisce


My friend Carlos Llerena Aguirre, the talented artist and illustrator and now a professor at the University of Miami , told me about his time with the Voice:


 I have great memories of the Voice. I worked full time as an illustrator for a couple of years. Mary Morgan Rockefeller was the editor, Bob Eisner, Art director and Milton Glasser graphics advisor.

I did crazy projects besides the usual woodcut editorials and ink surreal drawings. For example George Delmerico sent me to Brooklyn to do drawings as visual journalism on site. I had to sketch a transaction between a person and the Shark Loan people in the bar. Those project were daring and fun!

Several art directors reminisced about their Village Voice experience here;


The Village Voice‘s list of design directors reads like a Who’s Who of the best in our business, including my friend Bob Newman, who served as design director. Here he is profiled in the final print edition:





Of related interest



Also of interest: Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone draws robust intrest for majority stake in iconic magazine



Digital Media North America



This two-day event, organized jointly by WAN-IFRA and the News Media Alliance (NMA), will provide a unique opportunity for North American news media executives to hear and discuss digital revenue strategyfrom the world’s most advanced media companies.

I will be one of the speakers for this conference in New York City.


Finalists in the Digital Media contest 2017



Mario’s Speaking Engagements


Sept. 22, Columbia University, special program for Argentine journalism students Universidad Blas Pascal in Cordoba.

Oct. 19, WAN IFRA Digital Media North America, New York City

Nov. 16-19, WAN IFRA Latin America, Buenos Aires, Argentina



TheMarioBlog post #2703


Blog Post01.22.2018—1am
Are we using better photos today?
Blog Post01.19.2018—1am
The challenge of that fold
Blog Post01.18.2018—1am
The Washington Post: another profitable year
Blog Post01.17.2018—1am
Did I really read that much?
Blog Post01.15.2018—4am
The Guardian changes more than just the format
Blog Post—1am
Are vulgar words now part of a journalist’s styleguide?
Blog Post01.12.2018—4pm
The new New York Times campaign
Blog Post01.11.2018—1am
The good news about paying for content
Blog Post01.08.2018—3pm
Prof. Miguel Urabayen (1926-2018): Tribute to a grand maestro
Blog Post—2pm
Fire & Fury: Here’s a cover that tells more of the story
Blog Post—1am
End of print edition for Montreal’s La Presse
Blog Post01.07.2018—11am
Happy New Year…..I am back, sort of
Blog Post12.19.2017—10am
My prediction for 2018: we will write, edit & design for mobile
Blog Post12.13.2017—1am
Best wishes for the holiday season!
Blog Post12.12.2017—1am
Every year should be year of the audience
Blog Post12.11.2017—1am
The Post Most: curated content as easy as 1-2-3
Blog Post12.08.2017—1am
The power of a comic
Blog Post12.07.2017—1am
Those European ePapers Continue Growing
Blog Post12.06.2017—1am
Journalism students and print (not a romance)
Blog Post12.05.2017—1am
The nuances of using ragged right type
Blog Post12.04.2017—1am
Monocle’s habit-forming daily briefing
Blog Post12.01.2017—1am
2018: More digital everything, more of the Trump factor
Blog Post11.30.2017—1am
That time of the year to think what next
Blog Post11.29.2017—1am
Apple goes romantic
Blog Post11.28.2017—1am
E-mail newsletters can be a real seductive hook
Blog Post11.27.2017—8am
An e-newsletter with visual appeal
Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.