The New York Sun
|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 New York Sun was a politically conservative weekday daily newspaper published in New York City from 2002 to 2008. When it debuted on April 16, 2002, adopting the name, motto, and masthead of an otherwise unrelated 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. Since 2009 The Sun has operated as an online-only publisher of political and economic opinion pieces, as well as occasional arts content.
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 Times' emphasis on national and international news. It 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 website.
Published from the Cary Building in Lower Manhattan, it ceased print publication on September 30, 2008. Its website 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 was also 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, 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)."
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The New York Sun was particularly well known for its arts coverage, which 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 (which was renamed the New York City Tribune in 1983 and folded in 1991).
At the time of its creation, one media financial analyst said the Sun's chances of survival were "pretty grim", while another media commentator characterized it as "the unlikeliest of propositions".
It was underfunded from the start, with ten investors putting up a total of about $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 actually selling about 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.
The Sun acquired the web address www.LatestPolitics.com in 2007.
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 rapid onset of the late-2000s financial crisis, and The Sun ceased publication on September 30, 2008. It had about 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 website 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 website has continued to publish editorials and op-ed commentaries at irregular intervals and frequent contributions from economist and noted television commentator Lawrence Kudlow. Some new arts content has also been produced, but there is virtually no straight news reporting.
Starting 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 are published online at cityarts.info.
Due to low advertising revenue, CityArts reverted to a supplement in late 2012.
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- Barron, James (September 29, 2008). "Losing Money, New York Sun Is to Shut Down". The New York Times.
- "Short of cash, 'N.Y. Sun' shutting down". USA Today. Associated Press. September 30, 2008.
- Jeff Bercovici (November 30, 2001). "A Sun rises in New York—But will we need a flashlight to find it?". Media Life. Retrieved 2008-02-04
- "The Arc of the Sun". The New York Sun. September 30, 2008. ISBN 0-914381-05-9. Retrieved 2008-09-30
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- Boehlert, Eric (2002-04-25). "The New York Sun's not-so-bright debut". Salon.com. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
- All the News That's Fit to Subsidize, Seth Lipsky, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2009
- Meghan Clyne (July 19, 2004). "Bright Light in a Big City". National Review Online. Retrieved 2008-02-04
- Timothy Noah (February 11, 2003). "Dissent Equals Treason". Slate. Retrieved 2008-02-04
- Eugene Volokh (February 7, 2003). "The Right to Oppose". National Review Online. Retrieved 2008-02-04
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- "‘Lower the Debt Ceiling’ - The New York Sun". Nysun.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
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- Frank J. Prial, Decantations: Reflections on Wine by the New York Times Wine Critic, St. Martin's Griffin, 2002, p. 16
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- "Groundhog Day Revelation: 12 Weeks of 'Sun'". Gawker. February 2, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-04
- "New York Sun Sees Light, Makes Web Free". mediabistro.com. August 8, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-04
- (requires registration to access) Archived December 30, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Seth Lipsky (September 4, 2008). "The Future of the Sun". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2008-09-04
- Perez-Pena, Richard (September 4, 2008), New York Sun May Close if Millions Aren't Found. The New York Times. Retrieved on September 4, 2008.
- Lipsky, Seth (April 28, 2009). "Sound Familiar?". The New York Sun. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
Our own view is that Mr. Cheney just might have beaten Mr. Obama, ...
- Zachary M. Seward (April 29, 2009). "Is that the defunct New York Sun peeking over the digital horizon?". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- Calderone, Michael (April 29, 2009). "N.Y. Sun considers business plan for site". Politico (Arlington, VA: Robert L. Allbritton). Retrieved July 17, 2010.
The New York Sun, which closed up shop in September, has been publishing a bit lately online, ...
- "Editorials/Opinion". The New York Sun. Seth Lipsky. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
- various authors. "The New York Sun, Opinion". Seth Lipsky. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- . Accessed 24 October 2012.
- Howard Mandel (2012-09-13). "Demise — er, downsizing — of an New York City arts review". Artsjournal.com. Retrieved 2014-07-15.