Given The Voice's devotion to the New York political and cultural
scene, Mr. Wemple is an unorthodox choice. A native of Schenectady,
N.Y., he has spent his entire journalistic career in Washington, where
he has worked as a writer and political columnist for Washington City
Paper and for short stints as Washington correspondent for Inside.com,
an online media magazine, now defunct, and at Cable World Magazine, a
trade publication. He never even set foot in New York for his interview
for the Voice job.
Mr. Wemple acknowledged the challenge he
faces, having never lived or worked in New York. "It's a huge place I
know very little about, and it's important for me to be very upfront
about that," he said in a telephone interview. Nor has he been a
lifelong Voice reader. Until earlier this year, the editor's job at The
Voice "wasn't even on my radar screen because I've been so deliriously
happy at the Washington City Paper," he said. "I could barely see
beyond the Potomac."
Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village
Voice Media, said Mr. Wemple had been chosen from a slate of a dozen
serious candidates. "He's just a really smart guy," said Mr. Lacey,
speaking by phone from Phoenix. "So many journalists have interests
that are fairly narrowly defined: they're either a hard news person or
a Web person or a feature or a culture person, and Erik really is
across the board."
As for Mr. Wemple's outsider status, Mr. Lacey said, "That's just a thing that New Yorkers are going to have to get over.