Welcome to the first Communications Breakdown of 2019. Last night, the sports editor of the Daily News announced that his position had been eliminated, which if true was an act of pure insanity at a tabloid made famous by its sports coverage.

Yet as the insults to our great publications continue to pile up, the media industry in this city is far from fading. We’re devoting the whole shebang today to the state of New York City print journalism. And there's a great deal to be optimistic about.
Here Comes The City
The biggest news is the impending arrival of The City , the new nonprofit local news site partially funded by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, partnered with New York magazine and helmed by former Daily News City Editor Jere Hester. It’s also the biggest question mark; what will this site, apparently modeled after the Texas Tribune , give us that’s different from the energy of The Post , the depth of The Times , and the sweep of Politico New York ?

 Hester has promised “accountability journalism,” with some classic beats like transportation, housing and healthcare. We can learn a lot from the past work of the reporters he’s hired.

Greg. B. Smith, as we mentioned in our last blast, is a big name from The Daily News , where he led its astonishing coverage of conditions at the New York City Housing Authority. Rosa Goldensohn, coming from Politico , prompted New York to change the way it counted construction worker deaths when she worked at Crain’s New York Business .   Christine Chung, from Newsday , aggressively covered the resignation – one day before his confirmation hearing -- of a new Nassau County traffic commissioner who owed thousands in back taxes. Clifford Michael, from the Staten Island Advance , revels in down-and-dirty SI politics .

Good stuff. Still, we hope The City doesn’t rush opening day. The Wall Street Journal’s much-anticipated Greater New York Section, launched in 2010, established some great careers (think Josh Dawsey and Ted Mann), and did terrific work on Bridgegate and other stories. But it wanted for scoops when it first arrived and lost some of its buzz prematurely. We can wait until The City is good and ready. 
Bouncing Back
The Metro staff of The Times and the entire staff of The News endured
traumas in 2018. Buyouts were offered at The Times , and half the staff of The News got the ax – including all the photographers (at New York’s Picture Newspaper, no less).

But in recent weeks The Times local report has bulked up, with several solid hits, including a report by Sharon Otterman about a priest who continued to say mass even after a sexual abuse case against him was settled, and an exclusive by Willies Rashbaum and Neuman about how Mark Peters, the head of the city’s Department of Investigation, armed his staffers with Glocks and night vision gear . The newly-revamped, and newsier, New York Today, with the intrepid Azi Paybarah at the helm, has found its footing. Shane Goldmacher, who holds perhaps the most coveted reporting gig in all of Metropolis – chief Times New York political correspondent – has almost effortlessly filled the shoes of his great predecessors.

And The Post ? Well, arguably it has the most robust local print report, with more New York stories per day than anyone else, and actual business and feature sections. Funny: it once felt like the thinnest in town. Yes, the de Blasio screeds get a bit much, along with the Trump coverage, but its stable of reporters and columnists is as formidable as ever.
Which Dummy Moved the Copy Desk?

At The News, editor Robert York is something of a magician, putting out a credible report with a fraction of the staff, and every now and then hitting a front page home run. Yet with Tribune Publishing cutting costs by moving the copy and layout operations to Chicago, bad things can happen.

We've seen our share of typos, but it was new for us to see actual dummy type showing up in place of headlines in last Saturday's paper. Note also that they used a file photo of Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. That's because Susan Watts, one of the best shooters in town, was laid off.
City & State continues to grow in stature as an indispensable political bible, its First Read eblast every City Council member’s, well, first read. On January 7th it launches First Read Tech , which will have a daily focus on technology and its interaction with government.
Journalistic outlets abound, including Patch, WNYC with Gothamist cossetted safely within (though its mission seems a little diffuse these days), and Greater New York in the WSJ . And what about Schneps Media – ever heard of them? Well you should have. With more than 300,000 readers for its weeklies around the city – including The Brooklyn Paper and the various Express papers in Manhattan – the chain out-locals the most local reporting you can find, with police blotters and coverage of practically every community board meeting.
So is local news dying? Hardly - and we haven’t even gotten to television coverage (more on that later). We welcome The City to a noisy fray, and eagerly await its first bombshells.

Happy New Year.
Here and There
Comings and goings in journalism and communications

Ron Nixon leaves The New York Times to run international investigations at The Associated Press… Stuart Emmrich leaves the paper for the Los Angeles Times Dan Levitan is promoted to executive vice president at BerlinRosen… NBC News foreign correspondent Keir Simmons becomes senior international correspondent for The Today Show… Jeff Klein and Beth DeFalco join Mercury Public Affairs… Simon Brandler leaves the New York Attorney General’s office to become director of policy innovation at Sidewalk Labs.
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