RIP New York Sun, and the scoop mentality

NY SunI never worked for the New York Sun, but I was employed by its founder, Seth Lipsky, at one of his previous ventures. I'm not much of a conservative and I never agreed with the paper's editorials, but I did wholeheartedly agree with its management philosophy. That is, foremost, that if you hire good people and set them to work, they will produce great journalism. The second rule, almost as important, is that scoops rule.

Scoops, in the Internet world, are commonly referred to as original content. Blogs are all about this, and each of us out there -- WalletPop included -- is trying to dig up that magical nugget of news that will propel us to the front of the line. Most of the time, however, we're rehashing wire stories or talking about other people's blog posts in an endless loop.For the last six years, the New York Sun was an original voice on the news landscape, and that's a great thing. But it could not make a business out of it. In various jobs in the journalism world, online and off, I've been through that before. Layoffs ensue. The Sun will likely close up shop at the end of September, and several people I know will be out of work. Each time this happens, journalism suffers a little.

The Sun is not alone, of course. The original Sun couldn't make it either, way back in the newspaper wars of the 1950s. Today, newspapers all across the world are facing this dilemma as well -- San Juan's English-language paper is the latest to close up shop -- and there's no real answer to solve the crisis yet. Online venues pick up some of the slack, but there's still little money in this type of journalism.

That means we are missing out on much of that management philosophy that was so admirable at the Sun and other primary news sources. The first part of hiring good people is that you have to pay them. If there's no money in it, then those good people have to go do something else, like advertising or selling cars. And if you have no good people, you have no scoops. So rest in peace, New York Sun, but long live the scoop!
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