I was saddened to learn that the edition of the New York Sun that landed outside my door this morning would be the daily’s last. It was a fine newspaper, with interesting stories lucidly written and beautifully typeset. The Sun looked like what a newspaper is supposed to look like.
I have a very little bit of personal history with the paper, having once tried to get a job there as an editorial writer. I spent a few days at their wonderfully chaotic offices (commuting from Philadelphia — no fun) and contributed a couple of editorials — enjoying the paper’s rather rigorous editing procedure. (Ira Stoll once told me: “I’d like you to get a signed permission slip from me before you use another adjective.”) At the time I was in the very early stages of helping to launch a Sun-inspired daily in Philadelphia, and Ira persuaded me to commit to that project by helpfully not offering me a job at his newspaper.
When we announced the plan to resurrect the Philadelphia Bulletin, Ira telephoned me with congratulations. I told him something he must have heard scores of times, namely that I’d kill to have the Sun’s arts-and-culture report. (I began making a mental hit-list of candidates for proving that claim.) It turned out to be easier than that, and the Sun let our little Philadelphia project raid their stories on what I gather were the most generous terms imaginable. And for that I will always be grateful to them — it was a generous gesture that made a huge difference to the Bulletin, which suddenly had book reviews, art criticism, and business reporting far superior to the Philadelphia Inquirer or Daily News. (Can’t beat the Daily News for hockey, though.)
Starting a new daily newspaper is not for the meek. The Sun was the boldest project of its kind, and all those involved should be proud of it. I hope those great writers who made the Sun such a good read will find even bigger outlets for their work in the future. If I were Examiner publisher Philip Anschutz, I’d be making a lot of telephone calls.