The End of the New York Tabloids?

The First Essential Scary Truth


One of the joys of being a New Yorker is reading the tabloids – The New York Daily News and The New York Post – on a daily basis.  It’s the cure to the common blahs, reading either of those papers.  Having a bad day?  Schmoggled by a fast moving cab that hits the stagnant water and that makes you late for your next appointment as you have to use a public restroom to dry off?  Go look at the cover of the Post; the odds are there is a headline to raise a smile, if not a laugh.  Who can forget the infamous large black letters that greeted New Yorkers one day in the ‘80’s that read ‘Headless Body in Topless Bar?’  Or the Daily News waking New Yorkers with the 1975 headline ‘Ford To City: Drop Dead?’


This weeks headlines included an FDR quote on the front page of the Post (We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself) and some balding guy in a sex scandal on the Daily News.  As my anxiety levels rise at the Market finding new lows on an hourly basis, I just wonder where is the tabloid humor?


The early ‘80’s were a rough time around the nation and in Detroit in particular. The clothes were better than a decade earlier but the hair cuts had yet to catch up and the economy was a depression era low in the rust belt, going lower if you believed in the auto, coal or steel industries.  Detroit had no tabloids but we had Tim Kazurinsky every week on Saturday Night Live showing us the outrageous front pages new owner Rupert Murdoch published every week.  It was refreshing to hear that some newspaper somewhere was making light of the troubles that were facing the country in a witty way during the now romanticized Reagan years.


Now, those same tabloids that made stories accessible to those of us trapped, willingly, on public transportation, specialize in Britney Spears, Brangelina and what some famous guy or gal did when drunk in a restaurant in SoHo.  It used to be the New York tabloids were like Bob Seger, Los Lobos or X songs; you could jump up and down, dance or listen to tunes when driving down some odd stretch of road but, if you were in the mood to listen there were ideas about life, aging, family and your place in the world.  Now, it’s about escapism to a place no one really cares about.


Call it a symptom of the larger problem, New York is becoming less of the American Imperial City and more of just an American urban monster.  And our tabloids are becoming pale reflections of what used to be great about New York.  Now they have no sense of humor, no showing how what happens in the city makes a difference to the country in general and no more breaking cutting edge New York artists in all fields. 


The New York Sun, a great broadsheet, was lost to the world on September 30, 2008.  With the way print journalism is being swallowed up by the internet, how soon will the homogenized New York tabloids be able to survive? 


I guess I am looking at really boring subway rides.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every Friday, get 2 for 1 movie tickets when you use your Visa Signature card.

Recent Comments