Red Ink | The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts

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♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>I’M SAM ROBERTS OF THE “NEW YORK TIMES.” AND WELCOME TO “THE NEW YORK TIMES CLOSE UP.” A TUMULTUOUS WEEK WITHIN THE JOURNALISTIC COMMUNITY AS WELL AS THE WORLD. FIRST, WE’LL BE JOINED BY ARTHUR BROWNE, THE LAST EDITOR IN CHIEF AND PUBLISHER OF THE “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS,” BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN OVER BY TRONC, A COMPANY THAT JUST DISMISSED HALF THE PAPER’S REPORTERS AND EDITORS. LATER WE’LL TALK WITH TIMES REPORTER ASHLEY SOUTHALL ABOUT THE ARTICLES SHE AND JAN RANSOM WROTE ON THE CITY VIOLATING ITS OWN BAN BY ISOLATING INMATES YOUNGER THAN 22. AND THE MAYOR’S SUBSEQUENT RESPONSE. MY TIMES COLLEAGUES DISCUSS THE LATEST ISSUES OF THE WEEK ON “THE BACK STORY.” AND I’LL OFFER SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON “CODA.” BUT FIRST, ARTHUR BROWNE, WHO LEFT THE PAPER LAST JANUARY. JUST IN TIME. HE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF “ONE RIGHTEOUS MAN.” ARTHUR, WHAT IS TRONC BESIDES AN AWFUL NAME?>>IT IS A MEDIA COMPANY THAT OWNS A CHAIN OF NEWSPAPERS IN MANY CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE NAME IS A DESCENDENT OF THE TRIBUNE PUBLISHING. IT COMES OUT OF THE REMNANTS OF THE TRIBUNE COMPANY BANKRUPTCY IN CHICAGO.>>DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN? TRONC BOUGHT THE NEWS FOR A DOLLAR FROM MORT ZUCKERMAN. HALF OF THE STAFF IS GONE, THAT MEANS 40-50 REPORTERS LEFT. CAN THEY PUT OUT A NEWSPAPER — WITH A STAFF THAT SMALL?>>DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN? THIS IS CLEARLY A FINANCIAL DECISION BY TRONC. PROBABLY A SHORT-TERM FINANCIAL DECISION TO MEET SOME NUMBERS. IN MY VIEW, IT DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. AN ENLIGHTENED MANAGEMENT WOULD HAVE INVESTED IN WAYS THAT MIGHT HAVE MADE MONEY AT “THE DAILY NEWS.” IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN SOME TIME. WISER STRATEGIC CHOICES MAY HAVE SAVED IT. INSTEAD, THEY CHOSE TO TRY TO CUT THEIR WAY TO SUCCESS TO PROFITABILITY WHICH IN MY VIEW IS AN ABSOLUTE IMPOSSIBILITY. NOW, AS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO, — IT IS A SHRIVELED ENTERPRISE JOURNALISTICALLY. IT WILL BE ABLE TO DO SOME THINGS BUT NOT ABLE TO COVER NEW YORK WITH THE THOROUGHNESS AND THE VERVE THAT THE DAILY NEWS ALWAYS BROUGHT TO ITS COVERAGE.>>WE SAW A LOT OF LETTERS INCLUDING LETTERS IN THE NEWS. THE NEWS HAD OUR BACKS. IT WAS THE REAL EYES AND EARS OF THE CITY. NO WAY NEW YORK’S HOMETOWN PAPER COULD DO AN ADEQUATE JOURNALISTIC JOB WITH A SKELETON CREW. I HAVE A COPY OF THE NEWS FROM JUNE WHERE THERE WERE 31 ARTICLES BEFORE THE EDITORIAL PAGES. NOW, THERE ARE ONLY 18. WHAT DO THEY DO? HOW CAN THEY PUT OUT A PAPER LIKE THAT? WILL ANYONE BOTHER READING IT ANYMORE?>>THE DAILY NEWS HAS SOME VERY LOYAL READERS. I BELIEVE THIS BETRAYS THEM. IT TELLS THEM THAT TRONC DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THEM OR IS NOT INTERESTED IN CONNECTING WITH THEM IN THE WAY THAT THE DAILY NEWS TRIED TO CONNECT WITH ITS READERS. THEY WILL FIND A REDUCED DIET OF STORIES AND INFORMATION. WHATEVER THERE WAS, IT WILL BE SHRUNKEN. IT IS A SIGNAL THAT TRONC NEEDS TO MEET SOME FINANCIAL IMPERATIVES AND IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE PRINT IN THE HOPE THAT IT CAN SURVIVE DIGITALLY AND THAT IS — BASED ON WHAT THEY HAVE DONE THAT, I THINK IT IS A SLIM HOPE.>>A LOT OF THE READERSHIP DIGITALLY IS LARGELY OUT OF TOWN AND NOT IN NEW YORK.>>THAT IS CORRECT. MUCH OF THE DIGITAL AUDIENCE IS NATIONAL. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY I BELIEVE. OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, I BELIEVE YOU CAN CREATE A LOCAL DAILY NEWS PRODUCT THAT WOULD APPEAL TO FAR MORE PEOPLE OUTSIDE NEW YORK THAN THE LOCAL COVERAGE NOW DOES. THAT IS THE CHALLENGE FOR WHOEVER IS THE EDITOR OF THAT PAPER. I DO NOT ENVY MR. YORK WHO HAS TAKEN OVER BECAUSE ONE, HE DOES NOT REALLY KNOW NEW YORK. TWO, THE TRONC NAME IS RADIOACTIVE IN TERMS OF HIRING JOURNALISTS.>>WHO WOULD WANT TO WORK THERE?>>THAT IS THE QUESTION. YOU WOULD HAVE TO SHOW SOME REAL FORWARD MOTION OR PLAN FOR BETTER JOURNALISM AT THE DAILY NEWS IN ORDER TO ATTRACT PEOPLE TO COME AND WORK THERE. A MAJOR HURDLE THIS ENTERPRISE WILL HAVE TO FACE.>>WE HEAR A LOT OF LAMENTATIONS AS WE DID WHEN NEW YORK NEWSDAY FOLD IT. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN YOU AND I WERE WORKING AT THE DAILY NEWS, AT ONE POINT THE CIRCULATION WAS 2 MILLION A DAY AND NOW IT IS DOWN TO SOMETHING LIKE 200,000. WHERE DID ALL OF THE LOYAL READERS GO? ISN’T THAT ALSO PART OF THE PROBLEM?>>THAT IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. NEW YORK IS A CHANGING CITY AND THE LOYAL READERSHIP BEGAN TO DECREASE OVER TIME AND I BELIEVE IMMIGRATION HAD AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY IN THE FATE OF THE DAILY NEWS. WHERE IMMIGRATION ONCE HELPED TO BUILD IT — BIG BLOCKS OF IMMIGRANTS THAT YOU COULD APPEAL TO. THIS IMMIGRATION IS VERY DIFFUSE. I AM NOT SURE ANY OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA HAS CAPTURED THE IMMIGRANT READER IN THE WAY THAT PAPER IS USED TO. THAT IS ONE FOURTH. MORE RECENTLY, THE SWITCH OF READERSHIP HABITS FROM PAPER TO TABLETS, PHONES, ALL OF THE DIGITAL STREAMS OF COMMUNICATION AND A MUCH MORE DIFFUSE STREAM OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION. AND THE DAILY NEWS DID NOT KEEP UP WITH THAT LIKE OTHER MAINSTREAM OR SO-CALLED LEGACY NEWSPAPERS. THEY DID NOT GET HEAD OF THE WAVE AND NOW THE WAVE IS CRASHING OVER IT.>>I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT THERE HAS BEEN A DECLINE IN LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE IN THE CITY. PROBABLY IN MANY CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AS WE COMPETE FOR READERS GLOBALLY AND IT BECOMES LESS IMPORTANT FROM A BUSINESS STANDPOINT AT LEAST TO COVER LOCAL NEWS. WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE READERS? WHERE DOES IT LEAVE THE QUESTION OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY?>>I THINK IT IS VERY DETRIMENTAL TO CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. IT IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE CAUSE OF HOLDING GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE. THERE ARE GOING TO BE SMALLER, I BELIEVE, DIGITAL NEWS ORGANIZATIONS THAT ATTEMPT TO COVER THE CITY AND COLLECTIVELY, THEY MAY BE ABLE TO HAVE SOME MASS IN DOING IT, BUT I DO NOT SEE AN INDIVIDUAL FORCE IN LOCAL JOURNALISM THAT WOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE THE BREADTH TO DEAL WITH THE POLITICS, THE GOVERNMENT, THE CRIME, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE, THE HOUSING — ALL OF THE ISSUES THAT AN IMPORTANT MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD TACKLE.>>WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE STORIES YOU COVERED, THE NEWS WAS ABLE TO HAVE REAL IMPACT. IS THAT GOING TO HAPPEN ANYMORE?>>I THINK IT HAS GREATLY DIMINISHED. THE POWER OF THE DAILY NEWS HAS GREATLY DIMINISHED AND THIS I BELIEVE IS A SEVERE BLOW TO ITS STANDING IN THE POWER ECOSYSTEM OF NEW YORK AND THAT IS A BAD THING FOR THE PUBLIC. BECAUSE, IT STOOD FOR SOMETHING. IT WAS NOT SELF INTERESTED IN ANY WAY. IT ALWAYS ATTEMPTED TO BE ON THE SIDE OF THE READERS WHEN FACING THE POWER. AND WHEN ITS VITALITY IS SAPPED, THE PUBLIC WILL SUFFER.>>IS THERE ANY MODEL THAT CAN REPLACE IT?>>I LIKE TO THINK THAT THAT COULD HAPPEN.>>IN FACT, WE ARE SEEING IN NEW JERSEY, A GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY MODEL.>>RIGHT, WHICH I WOULD NOT ADVOCATE FOR BUT I WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT IN NEW YORK CITY THERE IS ENOUGH MONEY IN SEARCH OF MEANING THAT YOU COULD BE ABLE TO ASSEMBLE THE FUNDING NECESSARY TO SUPPORT A NONPROFIT NEWS ORGANIZATION THAT WOULD PROVIDE CONTENT TO ANY OUTLET IN NEW YORK CITY THAT WANTED TO SHARE IN THAT CONTENT. I THINK THAT COULD HAPPEN AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT HAPPEN. I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.>>THE NEW EDITOR OF THE PAPER HAS SAID TO STAFFERS, GIVE ME 30 DAYS. LET ME DEMONSTRATE THAT I CAN TAKE THIS PUBLICATION IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. IS THERE REALLY ANYTHING THAT HE OR ANYONE CAN DO IN 30 DAYS TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE CAN SAVE THE DAILY NEWS AND MAKE IT A PAPER THAT IS WORTHWHILE READING?>>YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE SUPERMAN IN THE LOBBY OF THE OLD DAILY NEWS BUILDING TO ACCOMPLISH THAT IN 30 DAYS.>>THANK YOU FOR JOINING US WITH THAT HOPEFUL REPORT. ARTHUR BROWNE, THE LAST EDITOR IN CHIEF AND PUBLISHER OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS BEFORE IT WAS SOLD TO TRONC. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR LATEST VENTURE. COMING UP NEXT, MY TIMES COLLEAGUE, ASHLEY SOUTHALL. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>WELCOME BACK, JOINING ME NOW IS MY COLLEAGUE ASHLEY SOUTHALL. WITH JAN RANSOM, SHE WROTE ABOUT YOUNG INMATES BEING TRANSFERRED UPSTATE, TO JAILS WHERE THEY WERE PLACED IN ISOLATION — A VIOLATION OF THE CITY’S OWN RULES. MAYOR DE BLASIO THEN DEFENDED THE PRACTICE SAYING “OCCASIONALLY” SENDING INMATES UPSTATE WHO POSE A SECURITY OR SAFETY RISK SEEM TO BE OKAY. WHY ARE THEY SEGREGATED AT ALL? WHY DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO SEND THEM UPSTATE?>>THE CITY TELLS US THAT THESE INMATES ARE SENT TO UPSTATE OR TO OTHER JAILS SUCH AS NASSAU — BECAUSE THERE IS A THREAT TO THEIR SAFETY OR THEY ARE A THREAT TO OTHER INMATES OR GUARDS AT THAT JAIL. THESE ARE INMATES WHO MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ASSAULT ON GUARDS AND NOT JUST A SCRATCH BUT LIKE SPINE FRACTURE OR BROKEN NOSE.>>WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE SYSTEM THAT WE CANNOT PROTECT THEM IN OUR SYSTEM OR THE GUARDS CANNOT PROTECT THEMSELVES?>>THAT IS A QUESTION FOR CITY HALL. WE HAVE ONE OF THE LARGEST CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY, IN NEW YORK CITY. WE HAVE EIGHT OPERATIONAL JAILS. WE HAVE DETENTION CENTERS IN THE BOROUGHS AND OVER 10,000 GUARDS. THE IDEA THAT THE CITY CANNOT HANDLE THESE YOUNG INMATES THEY SAY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS VIOLENCE IS A MAJOR QUESTION FOR EVERYONE.>>WHAT IS THE DOWNSIDE TO THE SYSTEM OR THE INDIVIDUALS OF SENDING THEM OUT OF TOWN AND THEN PUTTING THEM IN SOLITARY?>>WHEN THESE INMATES ARE SENT OUT OF TOWN, 2-3 HOURS AWAY THEY ARE OUT OF SIGHT OF THE CITY. EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE CITY, THE CITY CANNOT SEE WHAT GOES ON TO THEM. THEY ONLY KNOW WHAT ALBANY OR ROCKLAND TELLS THEM. AND ALL OF THESE OTHER JURISDICTIONS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME RULES AS NEW YORK CITY. NEW YORK CITY HAS BANNED SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR INMATES 21 YEARS OR YOUNGER. THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO HOW LONG THEY CAN STAY. IN NEW YORK CITY, WE HAVE RULES THAT WERE DESIGNED WITH SCIENCE IN MIND, THAT SOLITARY HAS DELETERIOUS EFFECTS. IT CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.>>WE HAVE SEEN THAT BEFORE. HOW COME THE MAYOR IS NOW DEFENDING THIS?>>HE STILL THINKS THE POLICY — HE SEEMS TO THINK THAT BECAUSE IT IS ONLY 10 OR 15 YOUNG PEOPLE THEY ARE SENDING EVERY YEAR THAT IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL AND SOMETHING ONLY DONE IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES. AND HE SEEMS TO THINK THAT THE OVERSIGHT IS ENOUGH. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. THESE INMATES AND SOME OF THEIR LAWYERS ARE GOING TO BE CHALLENGING THESE TRANSFERS IN THE COURT.>. WHAT WAS IT LIKE REPORTING THIS STORY WITH JAN? WERE THE INMATES, THEIR LAWYERS AND CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM COOPERATIVE?>>THIS ISSUE UNITES ADVOCATES AND THE CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS. THEY WERE VERY HELPFUL. MOST OF THESE INMATES RELY ON PUBLIC DEFENDERS. THEY RELY ON PUBLIC DEFENDERS WHO HAVE PRACTICES THAT CHALLENGE SYSTEMIC POLICIES. THIS IS EMERGING AS ONE OF THEM. THE WAY WE LEARNED ABOUT THESE TRANSFERS WAS THROUGH DEFENSE LAWYERS. THEY WERE AFRAID OF PUTTING THEIR CLIENTS IN MORE DANGER. THERE WERE BEATINGS IN ALBANY BY THE GUARDS. MAYBE AS RETALIATION FOR THE ASSAULT THAT TOOK PLACE. THEY WERE AFRAID BUT AT THE SAME TIME KNEW THAT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY SPOKE OUT, THEY WOULD BE WHERE THEY ARE.>>AREN’T THE JAILS IN THE CITY UNDER CAPACITY? ISN’T THERE ROOM FOR THESE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY?>>THAT IS WHAT WE THINK. THE NEW YORK CITY JAILS CAN HOLD MORE THAN 11,000 PEOPLE. THE AVERAGE POPULATION AT RIKERS — YOU HAVE PEOPLE THERE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS AWAITING TRIAL. THERE ARE ABOUT 9000 PEOPLE THERE. THE CITY –THEY HAVE CREATED UNITS IN LIEU OF SOLITARY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHY THEY DO NOT HAVE A SPACE FOR THESE PROBLEMATIC PEOPLE.>>WHAT DO THEY SAY WHEN YOU ASK THEM?>>THEY SAID IT WAS NOT A STORY WHICH WAS A RED FLAG FOR US. THEY SAY WE CANNOT PREVENT WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM BUT WE’RE TAKING STEPS TO PROMOTE SAFETY. THIS IS ALL ABOUT SAFETY FOR OUR INMATES AND OUR GUARDS. TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY ARE NOT SAFE, THEY CLAIM NOT TO KNOW THAT THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT THE LAWYERS AND THE INMATES HAVE RAISED.>>I AM SURE WE WILL SEE MORE STORIES ON IT. ASHLEY SOUTHALL FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND THE BACK STORY IS NEXT. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>WELCOME BACK. WHAT KIND OF A WEEK HAS IT BEEN? ONE OF BOBBING AND WEAVING BY THE PRESIDENT. THE DEATH OF A STATEN ISLAND FIXTURE, GUY MOLINARI. AND A TABLOID SHRUNK TO MINI IPAD SIZE. JOINING ME TO DISCUSS THESE STORIES AND MORE ARE MY TIMES COLLEAGUES CONTRIBUTING WRITER ELEANOR RANDOLPH AND CITY HALL BUREAU REPORTER WILLIAM NEUMAN. THE MAYOR SAID THIS WEEK HE IS NOT A MICROMANAGER AND THAT HE REALLY DOES NOT KNOW MUCH OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN DETAIL ABOUT CITY GOVERNMENT. IS THAT TRUE? IS IT A GOOD THING?>>IT IS TRUE AND NOT TRUE AT THE SAME TIME. THAT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY ADMISSION HE MADE IN A COURT CASE ABOUT THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LOTTERY. IN ORDER TO AVOID BEING DEPOSED IN THE COURT CASE, HE MADE A BIG SHOW OF TALKING ABOUT HOW LITTLE HE ACTUALLY KNOWS ABOUT THE DOINGS OF HIS OWN GOVERNMENT. IN FACT, HE IS A GUY THAT IS BOTH EXTREMELY ENGAGED AND NOT ENGAGED.>>WE KNOW HE DOES NOT KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT LEAD PAINT.>>FOR INSTANCE, HE RARELY MEETS WITH HIS COMMISSIONERS. HE MEETS A LOT WITH HIS POLITICAL TEAM. AND SOMEWHAT WITH HIS DEPUTY MAYORS BUT HE IS A MICROMANAGER AND THAT HE GETS VERY INVOLVED IN A LOT OF DECISIONS AND ALSO STOPS A LOT OF DECISIONS FROM BEING MADE BECAUSE COMMISSIONERS WILL SEND DECISIONS TO CITY HALL, THEN WILL SIT THERE FOR MONTHS WHILE HE AND HIS TEAM MULL OVER THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES.>>THAT SOUNDS LIKE MICROMANAGING TO ME.>>IT IS.>>IS HE NOT FORTHCOMING?>>IT REMINDS ME OF BASEBALL — IT IS A GAMBIT TO AVOID BEING DEPOSED BUT HOPEFULLY HE WILL BE AND HAVE TO ANSWER FRANKLY AND OPENLY ABOUT HOW HE DOES MANAGE GOVERNMENT.>>THAT IS RIGHT. THE WAY A MAYOR MANAGES THIS HUGE GOVERNMENT AND THIS 8.5 MILLION PEOPLE IS REALLY CRUCIAL. AND CLEARLY, THIS MAN DOES NOT DELEGATE ENOUGH. ALL OF THE MANAGEMENT PEOPLE YOU TALK TO SAY — WHAT YOU DO IS HIRE THE BEST PEOPLE YOU CAN FIND AND YOU DELEGATE TO THOSE PEOPLE AND YOU LET THEM BOUNCE UP WHEN THEY FEEL THEY NEED TO, YOU TRUST THEM TO DO THE JOB. WE DO NOT SEE THAT WITH THIS MAYOR AND AS A RESULT, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CASES AND WILLIE JUST MENTIONED IT, WHERE NO IS THEIR FAVORITE ANSWER TO THINGS. WHERE DO WE GO AS A CITY IF EVERY TIME IT IS BOUNCED UP TO THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR THEY ARE SAYING — I DON’T KNOW OR THIS MIGHT BE A POLITICAL PROBLEM FOR US.>>A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF FRUSTRATION WITH THE PEOPLE THAT WORK WITH HIM.>>HOW WELL OR NOT WELL IS THE GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY RUN? THIS IS A TEST AFTER A NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN MAYORS WHERE A PROGRESSIVE IS RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ECONOMY IS REASONABLY GOOD AND IT IS A TEST OF WHETHER A PROGRESSIVE OR A LIBERAL CAN RUN AND ADMINISTER THE GOVERNMENT. IS HE SUCCEEDING OR NOT?>>THE GOVERNMENT WRIT LARGE RUNS ITSELF. THERE IS A BIG APPARATUS AND THE GARBAGE GETS PICKED UP.>>WE USED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OTHER LIBERAL MAYORS WHERE THE GARBAGE WAS NOT GETTING PICKED UP.>>IF THE GARBAGE DID NOT GET PICKED UP — >>DOES HE DESERVE CREDIT FOR THAT OR NOT?>>THE GREAT TRICK OF BLOOMBERG WAS THAT HE WAS AN OK MANAGER THAT CONVINCED EVERYONE HE WAS A BRILLIANT MANAGER. AND WE SAW THAT HE WAS NOT AS WE SAW IN THE CITY TIMES SCANDAL. MAYOR DE BLASIO CAME IN WITH EVERYONE DOUBTING HIS MANAGERIAL — HE HAS A GREAT FORTUNE OF HAVING RECORD TAX REVENUES AND A BOOMING ECONOMY, HE HAS NOT HAD TO SWIM UPSTREAM AT ALL. THERE HAVE BEEN HUGE BLUNDERS. LOOK AT THE LEAD PAINT SCANDAL. THE REMINGTON HOUSE SCANDAL WHERE A NURSING HOME OR RATHER A FACILITY ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE THROUGH A SERIES OF BUREAUCRATIC BLUNDERS END UP IN THE HANDS OF DEVELOPERS AND KNOWING WAS PAYING ATTENTION.>>ELEANOR, YOU ARE WRITING A BOOK ABOUT MAYOR BLOOMBERG. IS THAT A FAIR COMPARISON?>>ONE WAY YOU CAN TELL A GREAT MANAGER IS HOW WELL HE OR SHE DOES IN AN EMERGENCY. I DO NOT THINK DEBLASIO HAS HAD AN EMERGENCY. HE HAS NOT SEEN THE WAY YOU HAVE TO UNIFY THE WHOLE CITY TO GET THINGS DONE. HE HAD NOT FACED THAT REALLY. AND I HOPE HE WON’T. I HOPE YOU WON’T HAVE TO. I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE WAY THAT BLOOMBERG HAD HIS FLAWS OF COURSE BUT HE SET UP THE BUDGET AND MADE THINGS A LOT EASIER FOR DEBLASIO WHEN HE CAME IN. EVEN THE 911 ISSUE WHICH WAS REALLY CONTROVERSIAL AND MADE ENEMIES AMONG FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE, IT IS NOW KIND OF WORKING. AND SO, HE WAS NOT AFRAID TO — HIS HEAD UP AGAINST THE FORCES OF THE CITY WHICH I THINK THIS GUY IS.>>IT IS A LITTLE EARLY FOR THE MAYOR TO THINK ABOUT GETTING OUT OF TOWN THAT HE IS SETTING UP A POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE FOR POSSIBLE FUTURE OFFICE. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HIM TRYING TO POSITION HIMSELF WHILE THERE ARE PEOPLE ON THE LEFT OUTFLANKING HIM. WHERE DOES HE GO FROM HERE?>>HE WAS ASKED THAT TODAY BECAUSE HE IS ANNOUNCING THAT HE IS SETTING UP A FAIRNESS PAC. HE SAID IN THE SHORT TERM, LOOKING TOWARD THE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS, HE WANTS TO RAISE MONEY SO HE CAN GIVE IT AWAY TO OTHER CANDIDATES AND MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS IN THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE AND NATIONALLY. IT ALSO ALLOWS HIM AND HIS WIFE TO TRAVEL. AND CAMPAIGN ON BEHALF OF OTHER CANDIDATES BECAUSE I SUPPOSE THEY THINK THAT IS EFFECTIVE. IN THE FUTURE, THAT GIVES HIM A PLATFORM. FIRST, HE HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO RAISE HIS NATIONAL PROFILE AND THIS IS ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO DO THAT. AND HE HAS ACTUALLY TRAVELED A LOT ALREADY THIS YEAR. HE TOOK SEVERAL TRIPS RECENTLY TO TEXAS AND MEXICO. HE SAYS HE DOES NOT INTEND TO RUN IN 2020 BUT WE WILL SEE.>>THANK YOU TO ELEANOR RANDOLPH AND WILLIAM NEUMAN FOR JOINING ME. I’LL HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON “CODA.” ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>ARCHING OVER THE LIMESTONE FRIEZE OF OFFICE WORKERS, LABORERS, ARTISANS AND TYCOONS ON THE OLD DAILY NEWS BUILDING IN MIDTOWN IS AN ALLUSION TO A QUOTATION BY LINCOLN. “GOD MUST HAVE LOVED THE COMMON MAN,” LINCOLN SAID. “HE MADE SO MANY OF THEM.” APPARENTLY, NOT ENOUGH. AT LEAST NOT ENOUGH TO SUSTAIN THE DAILY NEWS, WHICH ONCE BOASTED THE LARGEST CIRCULATION OF ANY AMERICAN NEWSPAPER. WHEN I JOINED “THE NEWS” IN 1968, IT WAS SELLING 2 MILLION COPIES A DAY. TODAY, IT’S LUCKY TO SELL 200,000. SURE THE DIGITAL EDITION HAS MANY MORE READERS, BUT MOST OF THEM ARE OUT-OF-TOWNERS LURED BY CELEBRITY NEWS. I CONFESS TO NOSTALGIA FOR NEWSPAPERS, THE ROAR OF THE PRESSES, THE SMELL OF THE INK. BUT WHEN THE DAILY NEWS CUT ITS STAFF IN HALF THIS WEEK, THERE WAS MORE AT STAKE THAN SENTIMENTALITY. THE FURTHER DECLINE IN LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE IS A LOSS FOR DEMOCRACY. IT MEANS ONE LESS WATCHDOG OVER CITY HALL AND ALBANY TO KEEP OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE. INEVITABLY, THAT WILL LEAD TO EVEN LESS CIVIC ENGAGEMENT BY NEW YORKERS WHOSE APPREHENSIONS AND ASPIRATIONS MIRROR THOSE OF THE COMMON PEOPLE WHOM THE DAILY NEWS APPEALED TO WHEN IT WAS FOUNDED NEARLY A CENTURY AGO. ITS MISSION WAS ENCAPSULATED BY FINLEY PETER DUNNE’S “MISTER DOOLEY.” THE NEWSPAPER DOES EVERYTHING FOR US. COMFORTS THE AFFLICTED AND AFFLICTS THE COMFORTABLE. SOON AFTER THE 1977 BLACKOUT, THE DAILY NEWS ADOPTED THE CASUSO FAMILY IN BROOKLYN AS THE EMBODIMENT OF SURVIVAL IN A “DYING NEIGHBORHOOD.” TO SOME WHITE WORKING-CLASS READERS, THE DECLINE WAS SYNONYMOUS WITH BUSHWICK’S CHANGING RACIAL COMPLEXION. BUT THE PERIODIC ARTICLES ON THE CASUSOS AND THEIR NEIGHBORS GAVE VOICE TO PEOPLE OF DIVERGENT RACIAL AND ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS WHO SHARED COMMON CHALLENGES AND DREAMS. THOSE ARTICLES ACHIEVED SOMETHING CONCRETE, TOO. THE NEWS SPONSORED A MAYORAL DEBATE UNDER A STUFFED BOBCAT IN THE CASUSOS’ CRAMPED LIVING ROOM. AND THE VICTORIOUS CANDIDATE, ED KOCH, EVENTUALLY DELIVERED ON HIS PROMISES FOR HOUSING AND OTHER SERVICES. THAT HELPED KEEP THE COMMUNITY FROM DYING, AFTER ALL. TODAY, IT’S VERY MUCH ALIVE. BUSHWICK’S REVIVAL AND THE FAITH DEMONSTRATED WHAT HAS KEPT KATHY CASUSO THERE TO THIS DAY. “EVERYTHING HAD BURNED DOWN ALL AROUND US,” SHE TOLD ME NOT LONG AGO. “OUR HOUSE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN NEXT. NOBODY KNEW WHERE TO TURN. I NEVER REMEMBER HIGH-RANKING OFFICIALS COMING UNTIL THE NEWS TWISTED THEIR ARMS. THE NEWS MADE A GREAT CHANGE IN OUR LIFE AND IN THE LIVES OF EVERYONE IN THE AREA.” FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES AND CUNY TV, I’M SAM ROBERTS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

One comment

  1. The NYDN's circulation has been plummeting for years, just like most newspapers in the US. By some accounts their daily circulation is around 164,000. That's 8.2% of their peak circulation of 2,000,000. Nothing is going to change that. The layoffs aren't funny but I can't help but laugh at the fact that the DN's endless pro-immigration stand has been part of their undoing. Their lovely immigrants don't buy their newspaper.

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