UPDATE: NY Times, in Wednesday report on Village Voice changes, has VV editor Tony Ortega blaming the economy for the firing of Wayne Barrett:
“By now I think we expected the economy to be doing a little better. So I’m a little disappointed we haven’t grown. But we’re holding our own.”
• • •
From NY Times: Wayne Barrett and Tom Robbins, two muckraking fixtures of the New York City press corps, are leaving The Village Voice. Mr. Barrett was let go; Mr. Robbins quit in protest.
In his last VV column, posted today, Barrett says: “I have written, by my own inexact calculation, more column inches than anyone in the history of the Voice. These will be my last. I am 65 and a half now, and it is time for something new. If I didn’t see that, others did.”
On Nov. 22, 1963 — 47 years ago today — I was a carrier boy for the NY World-Telegram & Sun, an afternoon newspaper. We knew that President Kennedy had died, and a pall enveloped the storefront shack where we rolled our papers — no bands, no bags — in preparation of stoop shoots from our bikes (we almost always hit our marks — definitely a lost art).
The Telegram bore the headlined “Kennedy Cheered Through Dallas” and featured a picture of a beaming JFK and Jackie at the Texas airport that morning.
Those upbeat papers are collector’s items today, but my customers would expect later news. So along with scores of others, I waited patiently at one of my neighborhood’s big newsstands for the arrival of the final edition around 5 o’clock — its headline filled the top half of the broadsheet front page:
I shelled out cash for a stack of Finals and brought them to my preferred customers. Then I returned to a few prospects. If they’d subscribe that day, I offered, I’d give them a copy of the paper that everyone wanted.
People were desperate not just for the latest news — TV was covering the story ’round-the-clock — but for their newspaper, a friend they could touch, hold, embrace.
Running a front page ad or promotion is one thing (done right, it can be useful to readers and profitable to publishers). But for publishers to deliberately mislead their readers is something else.
Today’s AMNewYork, the free daily published by Newsday, does just that.
Here’s my say: