New [em]Voice[/em] Editor Ortega: "Why Would I Hesitate?"

“I’m trying not to worry about all that crap on Gawker,” said Tony Ortega, the newly named editor in chief of the Village Voice. “I don’t feel it reflects the people and the work there.”

On Mar. 4, two days after the previous editor in chief, David Blum, was fired, Village Voice Media boss Michael Lacey called Ortega up and offered him the job. Despite four editors’ worth of turnover since January 2006, when New Times purchased the paper and took the Village Voice Media name, Ortega decided to accept.

“Why would I hesitate?” Ortega asked. “It’s the Village Voice. It’s a terrific newspaper with a storied past, and what journalist wouldn’t want to do it?”

“I’m sure this will be criticized since I’m not a New Yorker,” said Ortega. Ortega said he’s looking forward to learning from the Voice‘s staff.

What about his relationship with Lacey, who’s often accused of micromanaging the newspaper from Phoenix?

“I never really had that problem with him,” said Ortega. “I’ve always had complete freedom to do what I wanted.” Ortega has worked for Lacey at multiple New Times papers, most recently as the top editor at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.

He will greet his new staff on Friday, Mar. 9.

“I’m a half-Mexican kid from L.A. without New York experience,” Ortega said. “We’ll just see.”

-Michael Calderone