Hit & Run

The End of the Sun

|

After almost seven years of publication, Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll's little neocon newspaper that could, The New York Sun, has printed its final issue. Stoll and Lipsky bravely (or naively) entered a highly competitive, ideologically unfriendly media market in an era when newspapers were hemorrhaging readers—a trend that continues, though The Sun managed to survive far longer than any of its detractors predicted. Regardless of how you viewed the paper's conservative editorial position—a point often made by friends and comrades in New York, when I praised various aspects of the paper's coverage, was that if they didn't agree with its Israel policy, they could hardly trust the accuracy of previous day's boxscores—it is indeed a sad day for those of us who were regular or even occasional readers. After a few years of working as a farm team for bigger media outlets (e.g. Robert Messenger, Rachel Donadio, Ben Smith, Seth Mnookin) The Sun developed an impressive stable of reporters (Eli Lake, Jacob Gershman) and critics (the brilliant Adam Kirsch and Daniel Johnson, now editor of Standpoint).

A recent example of an ignored Sun scoop: On September 12, The New York Times broke an important story. American military forces, The Times wrote, were conducting cross-border raids into Pakistan with the approval of President Bush but without the approval of Pakistan. PBS's Newshour followed up, giving credit to the The New York Times for the scoop. Few noticed, however, that it was Lake and The Sun that broke the story earlier in the week.

Although I never contributed to The Sun (they did, though, publish a pedantic email to the editor I wrote in 2002 where, in the nit-picking style of Stoll's Smarter Times, I upbraided an editorialist for not knowing that Salvador Allende committed suicide), you can read Nick Gillespie and Brian Doherty shining for all here, here, and here. Earlier this summer, Reason.tv visited the Sun's offices in Manhattan to talk with Deputy Managing Editor Robert Asahina and Culture Editor Pia Catton.

One final point, understandably overlooked by the paper's obituarists. Thanks to the terrific designers at Lucie Lacava's studio, The Sun was also the best-looking paper in New York.

It will be sorely missed. And for those of you in New York, there is still time to heed the New York Observer's advice and "Contribute to some great journalists' severance packages by buying a copy at the newsstand."