Saving the news and views we need!


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The headline above was itself attached to a 1990 Liz Smith Daily News column, which, following the slashing of half of the staff of the Daily News earlier this month, is all too relevant in 2018.

In 1990, the “hometown newspaper” itself was threatened and Smith lauded my “save the Daily News” column. Hey, I actually found it, so please let me share it. Thanks again, Liz.

“A tip of the hat to Our Town columnist, Bette Dewing, who has written an ode of praise to the salvation of this newspaper. She pens: “Two thousand or so jobs lost in a time when newspapers are an endangered species could mean prolonged unemployment and not least, the heartbreak,. But the city is the biggest loser; Unlike The N.Y. Times, The News’ major focus is on New York City. So are most of its editorials, columns, features and Voice of the People page. The Daily News must survive — with its news and views we can’t afford to lose!”

And saved it was, with countless newspapers since going dark. And was before the Internet tsunami - so much about individual exchange with other like-mindeds.

And too many Times-only readers judge the tabloids by their sensational covers and don’t know what’s going on inside. They need to hear now-ex-editor-in-chief Jim Rich’s angry and anguished tweet to his staff the morning executives with the News’s corporate owner, Tronc, were about to fire him and half the staff.

“If you hate democracy and think local government should operate unchecked and in the dark, then this is a good day for you,” he wrote.

With half the staff, and maybe different priorities, how can the News “mind the store” like it once did — cover local politics and other policymakers along with local conditions which so affect our lives. And we need to be informed — and often forewarned — so we can act.

Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio went very public with their, at least nominal, distress at Tronc’s move. Cuomo said the corporation should have asked the state for help — adding how his dad as governor offered help to the struggling New York Post despite often differing views.

“He knew the value of a free robust press — and so do I,” Cuomo said. (Incidentally, the News’ views have been more akin to the governor’s.)

The Tronc organization said the paper’s new direction were about digital expansion with a focus on breaking news, crime, civil justice and citizen responsibility. Not so much on existing conditions or government and policymakers’ plans for the city.

This longtime traffic safety activist also worries if the reduced staff will still report, however briefly, on every city traffic death and injury.

Will new editor Robert York be concerned that New York City is uniquely a city of neighborhoods and is fast losing its stores and small businesses? Cohesive and neighborly neighborhoods also mean greater safety.

And surely, please save “The Voice of the People” page — a compendium of no-nonsense in-a-nut-shell critiques from every background, most about city life and conditions that need to get out there and fixed. And critiques are needed now more than ever on the News’ new directions. It’s the news and views we need — we need.





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