Tony Ortega, the editor-in-chief of the Village Voice for more than five years, announced he's leaving the struggling downtown alt-weekly in a blog post today addressed to Scientology watchers and complete with a self-portrait. Ortega has been writing about the top-secret religion since long before TomKat and The Master, focusing much of his work on the Voice's site to obsessive, somewhat incongruous coverage, including nearly 500 blog posts in two years. "I've decided to take advantage of this moment to change directions," he wrote today. "Next week will be my last as editor of the Voice; I will be leaving to pursue a book proposal about Scientology in its time of crisis." The Voice (where, full disclosure, I worked last year) could also be said to be in a time of crisis under the ownership of Phoenix-based Village Voice Media (formerly known as New Times): Four editorial staffers were laid off last month, and today, music editor Maura Johnston was also let go.
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