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The best known of all weekly alternative newspapers, New York’s Village Voice has been purchased by New Times Media. New Times owns eleven other large alternative weekly papers including The Pitch (Kansas City MO) and the Houston Press. The two publishing companies will be merged into a new firm, Village Voice Media. A part of the merger plan calls for the development of an Internet portal to compete with Yahoo and AOL.

David Schneiderman, current CEO of the Village Voice was yesterday named president of Village Voice Digital, the arm of the new company responsible for developing the portal. New Times Media also holds an Internet-based advertising agency known as the Ruxton Media Group.

The merger gives Village Voice Media access to seventeen of the largest urban markets in the United States, allowing them to compete on a more even playing field for both traditional and digital advertisers. The new firm will have a combined weekly circulation of 1.8 million papers and approximately 4.5 million weekly readers.