The New York Sun
The New York Sun was an American daily newspaper published in Manhattan from 2002 to 2008. It debuted on April 16, 2002, adopting the name, motto, and masthead of the earlier New York paper, The Sun (1833–1950). It became the first general-interest broadsheet newspaper to be started in New York City in several decades. Its op-ed page became a prominent platform in the country for conservative viewpoints. Since 2009 The Sun has operated as an (occasional and erratic) online-only publisher of political and economic opinion pieces, as well as occasional arts content.
|Owner(s)||ONE SL LLC|
|Founded||April 16, 2002|
|Ceased publication||September 30, 2008|
|Headquarters||105 Chambers Street|
New York, NY 10007 U.S.
The Sun was founded by a group of investors including publishing magnate Conrad Black. The goal was to provide an alternative to The New York Times, featuring front page news about local and state events, in contrast to the emphasis on national and international news by the Times. The Sun began business operations, prior to first publication, in October 2001.
The newspaper's president and editor-in-chief was Seth Lipsky, former editor of The Jewish Daily Forward. Managing editor Ira Stoll also served as company vice-president. Stoll had been a longtime critic of the Times in his media watchdog blog smartertimes.com. When smartertimes.com became defunct, its Web traffic was redirected to The Sun web site.
Published from the Cary Building in Lower Manhattan, it ceased print publication on September 30, 2008. Its web site resumed activity on April 28, 2009, but only contains a small subset of the original content of the paper, mostly focusing on editorials rather than news content.
Editorial perspective and reception
Editor-in-chief Lipsky said that the paper's prominent op-ed page would champion "limited government, individual liberty, constitutional fundamentals, equality under the law, economic growth ... standards in literature and culture, education". Another goal, said Lipsky, was "to seize the local beat from which The New York Times was retreating as it sought to become a national newspaper". Stoll characterized The Sun's political orientation as "right-of-center", and an associate of Conrad Black predicted in 2002 that the paper would be neoconservative in its outlook. Unsigned editorials in the paper advocated prosecuting Iraq War protestors for treason (2003), nominating Dick Cheney for the presidency (2007), and lowering, rather than raising, the debt ceiling in response to the debt ceiling crisis (2013).
The Sun supported President George W. Bush and his decision to launch the Iraq War in 2003. The paper also urged strong action against the perceived threat of the Islamic Republic of Iran and also was known for its forceful coverage of Jewish-related issues, and advocacy for Israel's right of self-defense, as evidenced in articles by pro-Israel reporter Aaron Klein.
The Sun established a readership niche for itself foremost in New York. Alex Jones of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy said, "It was a newspaper especially savored by people who don't like The New York Times, and there are plenty of those in New York." The paper also scored more scoops than would be expected for its size and Stephen B. Shepard, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York said that its effective coverage of local news earned it a place in the New York media world. Accordingly, it was known as a good place for young, ambitious, scrappy reporters to start out.
According to Scott Sherman, writing in The Nation in April 2007, The Sun was "a broadsheet that injects conservative ideology into the country's most influential philanthropic, intellectual and media hub; a paper whose day-to-day coverage of New York City emphasizes lower taxes, school vouchers and free-market solutions to urban problems; a paper whose elegant culture pages hold their own against the Times in quality and sophistication; a paper that breaks news and crusades on a single issue; a paper that functions as a journalistic SWAT team against individuals and institutions seen as hostile to Israel and Jews; and a paper that unapologetically displays the scalps of its victims."
In the same article, Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan's chief of staff at the United Nations, described The Sun as "a pimple on the backside of American journalism." According to Sherman, Brown "accepts that the paper's obsession with the UN translates into influence ... he admitted the Sun "does punch way above its circulation number, on occasion". He goes on to say, "Clearly amongst its minuscule circulation were a significant number of diplomats. And so it did at times act as some kind of rebel house paper inside the UN. It fed the gossip mills and what was said in the cafeterias." Brown's insult was in the context of the Sun's reporting of the UN's central role in the Saddam Hussein Oil-for-Food scandal.
In May 2007, Adweek columnist Tom Messner called the Sun "the best paper in New York", noting that "The New York Sun is a conservative paper, but it gets the respect of the left. The Nation's April 30 issue contains an article on the Sun's rise by Scott Sherman that is as balanced an article as I have ever read in the magazine (not a gibe; you don't read The Nation for balance)."
The New York Sun was particularly known for its arts coverage, for instance, breaking news of the death of Jim Gary days ahead of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications throughout the world. The paper included pieces by such critics as Adam Kirsch on literature, Jay Nordlinger on classical music, and Joel Lobenthal on dance. Lance Esplund, Maureen Mullarkey, and David Cohen covered art, Francis Morrone art and architecture. Literature was extensively covered by Otto Penzler on mystery writing, Eric Ormsby on poetry, Carl Rollyson on biography. Amanda Gordon acted as society editor, Alan Wellikoff covered cars, and Will Friedwald wrote about jazz. Of 20 guest columns written by Bush White House staffer Timothy Goeglein for the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel that were subsequently discovered to have been plagiarized, three were attributed to original articles in The Sun — two by Eric Ormsby, and one by film critic Bruce Bennett. The Sun received critical praise for its sports section, writers for which included Steven Goldman, Thomas Hauser, Sean Lahman, Tim Marchman, and John Hollinger. Its crossword puzzle, edited by Peter Gordon, was called one of the two best in the United States. It also published the first regular wine column in a New York newspaper, "Along the Wine Trail", written by G. Selmer Fougner.
In its first edition, the paper carried the solution to the last crossword puzzle of the earlier Sun published in 1950.
Financial problems, circulation, and end of print run
The Sun was started anew in 2002 in the face of a long-term decline of newspapers in the United States, loss of advertising revenue to the Internet and the rise of new media. From the beginning, it struggled for existence. The Sun was the first new daily newspaper launched in New York since 1976, when News World Communications, a company controlled by the Unification Church, launched The News World (that was renamed the New York City Tribune in 1983 and folded in 1991).
It was underfunded from the start, with ten investors putting up a total of approximately $15 million—not enough for long-term running. Beyond Conrad Black, who pulled out in 2003, these included hedge fund managers Michael Steinhardt and Bruce Kovner, private equity fund manager Thomas J. Tisch, and financier and think tank figure Roger Hertog. The Sun's physical plant, in the Cary Building at Church Street and Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan, was antiquated, with malfunctioning telephones and computers, a trouble-prone elevator and fire alarm system, and dubious bathroom plumbing. Nevertheless, Lipsky had hopes of breaking even within the first year of operation.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations confirmed that in its first six months of publication The Sun had an average circulation of just under 18,000. By 2005 the paper reported an estimated circulation of 45,000. In December 2005, The Sun withdrew from the Audit Bureau of Circulations to join the Certified Audit of Circulations, whose other New York clients are the free papers The Village Voice and amNewYork, and began an aggressive campaign of free distribution in select neighborhoods.
While The Sun claimed "150,000 of New York City's Most Influential Readers Every Day", The Sun's own audit indicated that it was selling approximately 14,000 copies a day—while giving away between 66,000 and 85,000 a day. (The New York Daily News sold about 700,000 copies a day during that period.) It offered free subscriptions for a full year to residents in advertiser-desired zip codes; this and other uses of controlled circulation made it more attractive to advertisers, but further diminished its chances of ever becoming profitable. Similarly, The Sun's online edition was accessible for free since August 2006.
In a letter to readers published on the front page of the September 4, 2008, edition, Lipsky announced that the paper had suffered substantial losses and would "cease publication at the end of September unless we succeed in our efforts to find additional financial backing." In particular, the paper's existing backers would not put forward more money unless new backers with capital were found. The chance that funding had of materializing was negated by the onset of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and The Sun ceased publication on September 30, 2008. It had approximately 110 employees at that time, and also made use of many freelance writers. Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg commented that "The Sun shone brightly, though too briefly," and that its writers were "smart, thoughtful, provocative".
Online version 2009–present
Despite the closure of the newspaper, The New York Sun web site renewed activity on April 28, 2009, prompting some observers to consider the possible implications. Michael Calderone of Politico quoted Lipsky as saying not to read too much into the initial items since "...a business plan for the site is still in formation," and "... these are just some very, very early bulbs of spring (or late winter)."
Since that time, the web site has continued to publish editorials at irregular intervals, and op-ed commentaries and, frequent contributions from economist and noted television commentator Lawrence Kudlow. In addition, commentaries on the arts have been published.
In March 2009, a group of former contributors to The Sun's arts section, including Lance Esplund, Brice Brown, Jay Nordlinger, Joel Lobenthal, and Marion Maneker, spearheaded a new paper, CityArts, published by Manhattan Media. CityArts began as a monthly arts supplement in other Manhattan Media papers (including New York Press, West Side Spirit, and Our Town), but soon changed to a stand-alone, twice-monthly free publication. A notice from 2009 claimed a distribution of 50,000 print copies. The paper's contents were published online at cityarts.info.
New York City portal Journalism portal
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- (requires registration to access)
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Our own view is that Mr. Cheney just might have beaten Mr. Obama, ...
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The New York Sun, which closed up shop in September, has been publishing a bit lately online, ...
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