The city's political, cultural, labor, and religious leaders, reacting to news that The New York Sun may have to cease publication if it is not successful in raising significant new capital, rushed to praise the paper yesterday and expressed hope that it will continue publishing.
The reaction followed the publication by the paper of a letter to the Sun's readers from its editor, Seth Lipsky, explaining the newspaper's financial situation and reporting that new capital would have to be secured by the end of September. The letter was issued on the front page of yesterday's number of the Sun.
"I hope that they find funding to continue," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. "I have the most amount of respect for Seth Lipsky, the people who work there, and their investors. They are trying something new."
"The more voices we have the better the public is informed and the better the democracy," Mr. Bloomberg said. "I think it is an important addition here and hopefully for the public's sake and all the people who work there, they will find other investors."
Said the mayor: "I actually think the Sun's municipal coverage is actually very good. It is one of the great strengths of the paper. While other papers seem to have done less in covering the city, the Sun has worked hard on coverage of municipal issues."
Edward Cardinal Egan, the leader of the Archdiocese of New York, said, "The New York Sun has been a valuable addition to the New York media landscape. My day is not complete until I have had an opportunity to read the Sun. Its coverage of life in greater New York, including the world of art and culture, is first-rate. It is my sincere hope that The New York Sun will continue to grow and thrive for many years to come."
The director of the Museum of Modern Art, Glenn Lowry, said, "I have been a devoted reader of the Sun's arts coverage for several years and have watched with great admiration as the cultural section of the paper has become one of the most important and informed sources of information about the arts in the City."
The president of the New York Public Library, Paul LeClerc, said, "New York has always been a newspaper town and the overlapping and intersecting voices of the press have been integral to the fabric of our City's culture, current events, and historical record. I am hopeful that the Sun will marshal the resources to continue contributing its news coverage and editorial perspective to this mix. Its coverage of the Library itself has always been sharp, insightful, and thorough, and we look forward to reading the Sun and offering it to our readers and researchers here at the Library far into the future."
The president and chief executive of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Herbert Pardes, said, "I was troubled when I saw the fact that the Sun might be in trouble." He added, "I'm dismayed and I would hope that a way can be found to sustain the paper."
Labor leaders who weighed in included the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, who said, "I think the Sun provides an incredibly vital service in New York, and it would be terrible if it went out of business. Clearly I don't always agree, but I think that the news — the coverage of schooling is fresh and comprehensive, the coverage of civic affairs is similar, and so between the editorial viewpoint, which you know I don't necessarily agree with, and the news coverage, it has made a real niche for itself in New York City. ... I would hope that some funders could come in and save it."
The president of the retail, wholesale, and department store union, Stuart Appelbaum, who is vice president of the New York City Central Labor Council, said, "I find coverage in the Sun on local issues that I don't find anywhere else." Said Mr. Appelbaum, "Even if I don't always agree with it ... when I want to read about what is going on in the City Council, whether or not Andrew Cuomo is running for mayor," or "important issues relating to city governance the first place I look is the Sun."
Other Democratic politicians who spoke out about the paper included Mayor Koch. "It is the first paper I read in the morning and I have six papers that I read," he said. "The Sun is one of the great papers and I hope it doesn't disappear."
The comptroller of the city of New York, William Thompson Jr., said he reads the paper every day. "The Sun closing is not in the city's best interest," he said. "The Sun has helped to provoke discussion and dialogue and debate in New York City. While it may represent a very conservative view, I think that view is valuable. ... you may disagree with it — but it forces you to stop and think"
The city's public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, noted that the paper had never endorsed her. "They cover New York City better than almost any paper," she said. "It would be a terrible loss for New York if the Sun goes under."
The president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, called the newspaper "the little engine that could."
"With a small staff and a small budget, the Sun breaks big stories and does an insightful analysis that people involved in government say is a must-read," he said.
The speaker of the New York City Council, Christine Quinn, said, "the Sun does a very aggressive and good job of covering not just City Hall business but City Council business. It's something I appreciate and I know my colleagues appreciate — giving attention not just to the concept of legislation and oversight but to the specifics. It's been a benefit to New Yorkers inasmuch as it gives them the opportunity to see more closely what's going on in City Council." She said, the paper has "dedicated more ink to the legislative process than any other paper has."
The district attorney of New York County, Robert Morgenthau, said, "I would hate to see the Sun disappear."
"I particularly credit the Sun's reporting on the U.N. and the Middle East, giving views that are not expressed elsewhere or as articulately expressed elsewhere," Mr. Morgenthau said. "The Sun's reporting is thorough and accurate and gives an important view whether you agree with the Sun or not."
The executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, said, "The New York Sun has filled a unique gap in the New York newspaper scene and has made a singular contribution to broadening its readers understanding of many critical issues, often way ahead of other newspapers."
Hope for the future of the Sun was expressed across the globe, from Iraq to Taiwan. "It is a great paper," said a liberal Iraqi parliamentarian, Mithal al-Alusi, whose two sons were murdered by Baathists before his eyes. "We need the media to be more like the Sun, The New York Sun, a paper that supports free people."
The director of the press office of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Ben Shao, wrote, "The Sun has repeatedly offered insightful and supportive coverage of Taiwan, especially at a time when many other papers tend to disregard our country's precarious situation. I, as well as the 23 million people in Taiwan, am deeply concerned and saddened at the prospect of losing such a distinctive and impressive voice in journalism." He expressed hope that "things may yet turn out well for The Sun."
The director of El Museo del Barrio, Julian Zugazagoitia, said, "I, and I'm certain many of my colleagues in the art world, always look to The New York Sun's cover with joy and appreciation, because it is the only newspaper that puts art above the fold on the front page." He added, "The attention and depth with which The New York Sun has covered the arts in New York has brought a more dynamic circulation of news within our field."
Other news organizations also weighed in. "There is so much great writing in that paper, from daily scoops to wonderful cultural writing," a former Sun employee, Chris Rovzar, wrote in New York magazine. "The Sun squeezed better writing out of a younger, smaller staff than I think any other paper in the city."
Jeffrey Goldberg, a staff writer at the Atlantic Monthly who used to work for Mr. Lipsky, wrote at his Web log on the Atlantic's site that "The Sun is a great newspaper, a bracing read, even when — especially when — you don't agree with its line."