Sun sets

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Amongst all the other sad news is this: The New York Sun will cease publication today after nearly seven years of publication. The revived Sun (the original version ceased publication in 1950) was known for a thoughtful, conservative editorial bent, thorough reporting on local government, and lively writing on arts and culture. The paper was praised as a must-read even by the public officials who were the objects of its editorial-page criticism, as noted by editor Seth Lipsky in his farewell remarks to the paper's staff:

We have all been taken aback and, I would say, humbled by the surge of support that has been conveyed since the announcement a month ago that we might have to close. Mayor Bloomberg, despite our differences on many issues, was our constant reader and encourager. We had messages from some of our greatest rabbis, and from His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan. Three of New York's former governors spoke of the importance of the Sun, including Governor Pataki, who called what you have created "the best paper in New York." Much as I appreciated the remark, I wouldn't want to make too much of it -- for me, it was privilege enough to be simply one among the newspapers in this magnificent newspaper town.

Some of the messages that touched me most were readers who sent in checks, with letters about what the Sun meant to them, and calls or comments from those with whom we don't often agree on policy. The Central Labor Council and the president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, or Speaker Quinn or Comptroller Thompson, the Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, and all the others who talked to our reporters, or wrote, or called to let us know how much they appreciated the intelligence, the passion, and the energy you brought to your beats. I sense in some of my conversations with them that they appreciated the fact that you covered their important work at all and that you dealt with them on the substance, and they will miss you as much as you will miss them.

The Sun was as close in style to the great British broadsheets as I've ever seen an American newspaper come. It's sad to see the paper close down. I'm especially sad because I've just discovered the Sun's wonderful blog on urban design, Culture of Congestion by Sandy Ikeda. I hope the blog continues in some form.

(In a recent entry, Ikeda linked to a blog worth following: Market Urbanism: "Urbanism for Capitalists / Capitalism for Urbanists.")

(Today is the anniversary of the demise of another fine newspaper. The Tulsa Tribune ceased publication 16 years ago today. Tulsa became a one-daily-newspaper town, to the detriment of public awareness and civic discourse.)

I was honored to have two brief moments in the Sun four years ago. I was one of several delegates to the Republican National Convention interviewed by Daniel Moreau for his August 24, 2004, story about the intentions of protesters to disrupt the proceedings:

"I have a lot of faith in New York's finest," said Michael Bates, 40, a Republican delegate from Tulsa, Okla. "I know a lot of effort is being made to maintain security."

Tight security is nothing new for delegates, who are used to far-away parking and having their personal belongings searched. Most delegates will either walk or ride a delegation bus between their hotel and Madison Square Garden....

Mr. Bates spoke of the protesters as if they were part of New York's eccentric scenery. "I'll have my camera ready so I can catch any crazy protesters," he said. "They expect us to be wearing monocles and top hats. They only believe in free speech for themselves."

The next evening, after arriving in town to cover the pre-convention platform and rules committee meetings, I met Sun reporter Gary Shapiro at a gathering organized by blogger and then-New York Post copy editor Dawn Eden. In his column the following Monday, August 30, Gary mentioned my report on BatesLine about the Communists for Kerry rally in Union Square:

Tulsa-based software engineer Michael Bates arrived in town as an Oklahoma delegate. He blogs at where he reported seeing the pro-Bush political theater group "Communists for Kerry" perform in "Soviet Union Square." They shouted slogans such as "End the two Americas! Create one homogenous welfare state!" and "End tax cuts! Stop the menace known as 'success'!"

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 30, 2008 12:49 AM.

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