October 11, 2004

I need some knee-pads

David W Young writes...

This week the Save David W Young From Being Fired campaign asks you to click this link. It will take you to my fortnightly column in the Listener. I am still not convinced that anybody reads it voluntarily, so I get on my knees every two weeks and beg. This week’s column is all about dismissal.

A bunch of writers who don't need knee-pads to make people read their columns are the folk who write for the New York Press. It's my favourite newspaper. Not just because I’m one of those shallow Big Apple worshiping bores who thinks the city is magical, but because I love America’s 'alternative' street-press city newspapers, and the New York Press is one of the best examples I've found from the genre.


This is from a recent Crime News column:

...Another one of those self-centred, inconsiderate schizophrenics had to go and make a hash of everyone's pleasant lunch by killing himself.

Stanley Goldsmith was a 69-year-old bike messenger who'd been working for the same law firm for the past 14 years. On Tuesday morning, he ascended the exposed staircase to the 48th floor and made his leap, landing 10 stories below, near the firm's lobby. He left no note, so his motivations remain unclear. It's perfectly reasonable, however, that he woke up that morning with the cold realization that he was a 69-year-old law firm bike messenger.

The New York Press publishes annual lists of the 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers (here’s 2004’s version) and is currently carrying out a “search for America's worst campaign journalist” called Wimblehack. It’s not all negativity, though: the property columns are fascinating, the current issue has an enlightening story about the world Rock Scissor Paper tournament, there's usually at least a few well-written and interesting features or profiles, and the columns are outstanding.

The Press recently received a letter from (Rupert Murdoch-owned) New York Post’s lawyers pointing out the paper’s new-look logo was similar to the Post’s. The Press editor responded: Do they honestly believe that anyone would confuse us for them?

The New York Press backed down and changed its logo. It also went a step further and changed ‘Page Two’ to the “F*** You Rupert Page”.




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