Friday, July 23, 2010

End of an era

I have ended my subscription to Newsday. I think I started reading it when the Long Island-based newspaper created "New York Newsday" in 1985. Their advertising slogan was "Truth, Justice and the Comics." It tried to position itself between the (comic-less) New York Times and the city's tabloids, The Daily News and the Post. Popularly, New York Newsday was called "the tabloid in a tutu."

That worked fine for me. I got a paper that had good news coverage, excellent columnists (Jimmy Breslin, Jim Dwyer, Frank DeCaro, Liz Smith, Dear Abby and Ann Landers)--and the comics, which I did miss just reading the Times. (By then I refused to buy either the Post or the News to read their comics--they were both quite conservative politically.) It even was easy to read on the subway.

Unfortunately, it did not work with a lot of other people, and in the mid-90's they gave up on New York Newsday. They reverted to an expanded version of their old Queens edition. It had less coverage of the city itself, but it still was a good newspaper, and I continued my subscription.

Things went downhill from there, as it did for all newspapers. I think they had a small bureau in Washington, or at least one reporter, but that was dropped. The columnists left voluntarily or were dropped. The comics went from three pages to two, and the strips that remained were printed so small that some were very hard to read. In 2005 they shrank their New York City bureau, and their New York City news coverage, significantly.

I continued my subscription mostly out of inertia. I've been getting most of my news via the internet. In recent years about the only things I got from Newsday were the (tiny) comics, Broadway show reviews, an inferior advice column, and, a couple of  times a week, two pages of NYC entertainment news. I dropped Sunday delivery a while ago, because a third of the time there were sections missing--usually including the comics, all of which I could get on the internet.

Newsday has become a shadow of its former self, and I don't want to spend money for memories of what once was. Now I'll get all of my comics electronically. I will continue to read the NY Times business and sports sections (my wife gets the rest of the paper), and rely on the internet for the rest of my news. An era has passed.

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