Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Au Revoir NY Press

I'm a little late in blogging about this but a week ago today the last issue of the NY Press was published.

I'm sure your shrug of shoulders or your "What's the NY Press?" thought is one of the reasons why it's gone under. The era of free "alternative" weekly newspapers is so very twentieth century. In this media age, such papers are dinosaurs. That asteroid called the Internet came crashing down and eradicated its kind.


Personally I'm not that sad. Actually, I'm kind of happy about it. I know on this blog that I rant about how depressed I am whenever anything in this city closes or disappears -- bits and pieces of old NYC going away -- but this case is an exception. First, the NY Press was not a great, or even a particularly good, newspaper. It was little better than a college newspaper and, compared to some college papers that I've read, even worse. So this is no great loss to the culture. Second,  I sent them an article several months ago, hoping they'd run it, but they never did. It wasn't any worse than most of the stuff they put out so I don't know why they chose never to run it, and I never got an explanation (not that this was any great loss to the culture either). So I'm glad that whoever chose not to run it is probably out of a job. Obviously it'll never run now but I wasn't holding my breath anyway.

However, putting my feelings aside, the NY Press did have a pretty good run (1988-2011). Twenty-three years for any publication to last ain't bad, particularly in an expensive and crazy media environment like NYC (it was around almost as long as The Phantom of the Opera). 

The newspaper began as a New Journalism-contrarian-conservative-mean spirited "alternative" to the  "alternative" Village Voice. No liberal pansies them -- oh no, they were "real Americans" giving it to NYC "straight." Needless to say, their glory years were the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president and they loved, loved, loved savaging the otherwise popular in NYC commander-in-chief. Like all good conservatives, the paper was also totally hypocritical too -- when they weren't screaming about liberals undermining "traditional values," they were publishing graphic articles on sex and running ads for escort agencies. 

Sadly for them, however, the 2000s brought tougher times. The presidency of their much beloved George W Bush turned into a disaster -- it was one thing to attack a president they hated but it was another thing to have to defend a president everyone else hated -- thus exposing the bankruptcy of the conservative ideology they had been peddling all those years (which I'm sure disillusioned their readers). Their best sex writers left. The economy sucked. The founder and owner Russ Smith eventually had to sell the paper and the new owners had no vision, no plan to keep it relevant in the Internet age. Worst of all, the NY Press was one of those papers under constant crises -- writers and editors were constantly coming and going, they had feuds with one another that went public; it got vicious. Then the money ran out.

And the rest is history. 

So au revoir NY Press. You're a victim of circumstance. You're not the first and certainly won't be the last to bear the brunt of these tough times. But I'll admit it -- the only thing that makes me sad about your closure is that you're not taking the New York Post with you. 

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