Thinking of newspapers

Newspapers are not where comics are most popular these days. Millennials, as we know, don’t read the newspaper, at least not the printed version.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that regarding my own work. It’s like making a movie and having it go straight to video. That is how I felt not having my comics in the newspapers. Comics were created for newspapers. But it’s a new era.

I think of the kids born today or in the last few years. Will they ever know the feeling of going outside and picking up the newspaper off the front porch, taking it in, smelling the ink and the paper, getting the feel of it all and reading the news from cover to cover, in black and white? There was a time when the ink came off on your fingers. Now they just flip through it all on their phones.

517AbN9Y1+L._SL250_I think of the days of George Herriman, George McManus, Rudolf Dirks, Bud Fisher and the others, when cartoonists were the celebrities of the day. What was it like in 1905 or 1915? I’m glad I’m here today, but I like to think back sometimes and wonder about those times were like. I think of the excitement of the newspapers, the deadlines, the camaraderie.

If you haven’t read the book on George Herriman and Krazy Kat by Michael Tisserand called, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White“, do yourself a favor and read it. It will transport you back to that time, you literally are immersed in that period. You feel as if you are in those old newspaper newsrooms and walking the streets of New York and Los Angeles. I am about to read it again. It’s sort of like “Breaking Bad” to me, I can just envelope myself in the story and get lost at any time of day.

Advertisements

My brush with the NY Daily News

sunday news

The first thing I would see on Sundays when I was a kid.

I’ve always wanted to have my comic strip printed in the New York Daily News and just a few years go Iwasthisclose. But due to the current climate and the constant staff changes, it didn’t happen.

At one time, for many years, the New York Daily News was the highest circulation newspaper in the country. It had 1 million readers a day, and way back in the day, say in the 1940s, they had 2 million readers daily and 4 million on Sunday! That was the place to be. They used to say that three people would read every one newspaper – so that is a hell of a lot of people reading one issue.

The editors loved my work, they practically had me in the paper, they wanted to know how many comics I had, how long I could sustain the feature, when I could start, etc. etc. I met with them at the building downtown, not the Daily News building on 42nd Street, they are now in an office building next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

I remember how excited I was that day, I had swag with me, Tomversation cube pads and pens and stuff and I had a wonderful meeting. But it never was to be, by the time I got home to Miami, the guys I met with were gone. One was fired for sexual harassment!

I started the process all over and again, the new editors were very interested. The problem at the Daily News at the time and probably even more so today is that there is not one specific editor for features or comics or things like that. At one point I dealt with the Sunday editor of the whole newspaper, another time a news editor. And again, it was not to be, mostly because of total confusion at the newspaper.

I have come to terms knowing that my comics will have a home on the internet and that is really a better place for so many reasons. But that was my brush with the New York Daily News.

NY Daily News; sign of the times

 

The New York Daily News has an editorial about itself called, “Local journalism is sick; don’t misdiagnose the disease.” They explain their current situation where they have been gutted by Tronc, their current owner. They say it’s more than Tronc cutting the staff by more than half, it’s the times, it’s the internet, it’s so much more.

To be honest, I didn’t buy one newspaper the whole time I was in New York this summer and that is saying a lot.  I usually buy The Daily News every single day when I’m in the city, I pick it up with my breakfast, and most days I would buy the Daily News, the NY Post, The NY Times and Newsday, all four daily newspapers, but even if I didn’t buy all four, I would always buy the Daily News. I’m not sure why I did not purchase the papers. I think it all started with my Miami Herald fiasco this past winter and I just got out of the habit. Reading the newspapers is a habit, sort of like having breakfast every morning.

The NY Daily News itself is now down in an office building down near the Staten Island Ferry, they aren’t even in the actual Daily News building on 42nd Street, which has been the case for years.

I took a short video of the Daily News building in November, here it is.

The Daily News Building is a beautiful Art Deco building and the Daily News should be in that building. I wrote about the strike in 1945 and showed an incredible video where it shows millions of newspapers being sold per day as people waited in long lines to plop down a nickle for the Daily News and all of the other New York newspapers at the time – the Mirror, the Journal-American, the Sun, etc. Newspapers were the world back then.

Today the sports department has been gutted. That’s the one thing my father would always mention when I would give him copies of the newspapers that I would bring home with me – the New York Daily News and the New York Post – he would admire the size of their sports section, putting down the puny Miami Herald’s sports section, asking, “Why can’t the Herald be like the New York papers?”

new_york_daily_news_logo

The ubiquitous camera in the masthead

And the photography department at the Daily News has been gutted, too. No photographers at New York’s Picture Newspaper!!! No photographers! Should they remove that iconic camera logo that has been part of their masthead since day one in 1919?

Two newsgirls

This is sad. I’m in Hoboken often and now every time I pass these locations I’ll think of these girls. Here are two young girls selling newspapers in Hoboken in 1912; the actual locations were visited a century later and superimposed with public domain and CC-licensed resources.

Library of Congress photography by Lewis Hine from the National Child Labor Committee Collection (loc.gov) is remixed here with Creative Commons-licensed music by Kevin MacLeod.

Video copyright Lyndon F. Lorenz, all rights reserved

 

They slashed the newsroom staff at the New York Daily News today

Ford_to_CityThe New York Daily News cut its newsroom staff by half on Monday. Tronc, Inc, the owner in Chicago decided that The News was bleeding too much red ink. They want to focus on digital news now.

Tronc, it sounds like the sound an elephant would make when he tries to stifle a sneeze.

To me The Daily News is New York, but I have to admit, I spent almost three weeks in NYC this summer and for the first time since I’ve been adult, I didn’t buy a newspaper once. There is nothing there. You spend $2 for a newspaper that is eight pages long now and all the news that’s printed I already read online on Facebook and Twitter. I read it in the newspapers, but on their websites through their links that they put on social media. But I feel very guilty about not purchasing the newspapers. I used to purchase all four every day when in the city – The Daily News, the Post, the NY Times and Newsday. I would also buy the newspapers in New Jersey when I went to Hoboken – The Record, The Star-Ledger and the Jersey Journal. I would literally sit in the old train station and read the newspapers.

The comics are few and far between and I read them online too, I can read the ones I like and not be subjected to one editor’s favorites. I stopped buying the New York Post when they dropped the few comics they did have a few years ago.

I was being wooed by The Daily News a few years ago. They were interested in running my Tomversation comic panel and they put me off for years, litearally, because they kept changing staff! I would deal with a top guy, for instance one of the main editors and after our meetings and back and forth dialogue, he would be gone and someone new would start the conversation. Then that person would be gone and so on.

I can’t imagine NYC without The Daily News. I remember back in the 1980s when there was a newspaper war between the News and the Post, they both had about 1 million readers a day and they each put out about eight editions a day. You would walk around the city and it seemed that each time you passed a newsstand, the front page of both tabloids was different from block to block – they were printing issues all day long!

I stop by the old Daily News building on 42nd Street when I’m in New York. It’s special. I did a video of that not long ago. You can see it here.

And if you haven’t seen the video about the New York City newspaper strike of 1945 it’s something to see (I have it here). Millions of newspapers were being sold per day by people standing in line at the newspaper plants buying one copy at a time. That was a special time.

nydailynews

========
Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.
=======

The New York Herald

herald1

Herman Hyneman, 1899

Whenever I’m in New York, I look for the New York Herald building in Herald Square. I stand in front of Macy’s and look around and try to imagine which of the old buildings is the Herald. But of course that building is long gone.  It stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 James Gordon Bennett, Sr., founder, moved the newspaper uptown.

herald2

Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

I had only seen photos from the front, which faces downtown and love seeing these photos which I came upon recently where you can see the whole side of the ornate building. Shame that it is gone as is so much of old New York

herald3

People watching the presses roll. Photo: Detroit Publishing Co. (ca. 1900-10) – George Grantham Bain

herald4

Herald Square, New York. Minerva & the Bell Ringers, 1895. Sculptor: Antonin Jean Carles

herald5

Herald Square, 1903

What’s depressing is that the building is now this bland structure which houses a Santander Bank and a Duane Reade drugstore.

heraldsquare

The Miami News

miami-newsI was at Miami’s history museum last week, HistoryMiami and I saw this. Sad. An old Miami News newspapers box. Strange to see it in a history museum, but it is history. It was there in the museum along with old Pan Am airway stuff and Miami Vice things and stuff that you really don’t realize are part of history because they are not that old, but then again, yesterday is history.

I like the “fresher news every day” on the side of the box. They were the afternoon paper, the Miami Herald is the morning paper, so I guess The News did have fresher news. But then again, in the morning, The Herald had fresher news . . .

They had the last issue of The Miami News at the museum, it was just there. I wanted to pick it up and thumb through it but didn’t know if that was permitted, but it wasn’t under glass. It was just there.

The last issue was printed on December 31, 1988. I saved that issue and have it somewhere.

I’ve never been the Newseum in Washington, DC, but I bet they have a bunch of these boxes there. I can sort of picture a big area where they are all lined up – The New York Mirror, The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Los Angeles Examiner, The Tamps Tribune and so on.

I like a feature that the Newseum website has, they show today’s front pages of the nation’s daily newspapers.