The 2006 list of "50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers" was published this week, and the former New York Press editorial staffers who walked out in protest are at #50, right below Chloe Sevigny and Vincent Gallo. "You didn’t think we were going to let this issue go without some kind of dig about our predecessors, did you?" the writers ask. Editor Harry Siegel and three other staffers resigned in February when the paper's publishers refused to print the controversial Muhammad cartoons. The current Press writers say, "This mountain-into-a-molehill gave them a semi-Warholian 13 minutes of fame, while we were left picking up the pieces. ... Thanks, guys!" The New York Press publishes its "Loathsome" list annually.

Continue ReadingNY Press Puts Former Staffers on ‘Most Loathsome’ List

That's what a source told Boston Phoenix media critic Mark Jurkowitz after Village Voice Media's new Executive Editor Michael Lacey met with "about 30 staffers" in New York on Feb. 1. "This industry has been afflicted by this kind of shut-in mentality," Lacey told Jurkowitz. "Are people prepared to receive the message? There were a lot of people [at that meeting] who didn't like what I said." One of them was media columnist Sydney Schanberg, who said Lacey's "language was adversarial and pugnacious. ... He played the bully. I respond terribly to bullies." Voice columnist Nat Hentoff didn't respond well either, especially when Lacey criticized one of his columns and complained about "reporting that was stenography." But Hentoff decided not to resign because he's waiting to see how Lacey treats his work. Jurkowitz also covered the recent resignation of the editorial staff at the New York Press and interpreted the "turmoil" at both papers as "a sure indicator that the alt-weekly business ... is struggling for relevance in an increasingly fragmented marketplace."

Continue ReadingAt Voice, Reaction to Lacey Runs Gamut From ‘Fear to Exhilaration’

Harry Siegel, one of four editorial staffers who resigned from New York Press last week, participated in a discussion of the Muhammad cartoons with Mike Luckovich, an editorial cartoonist, and Jim Warren, deputy managing editor of The Chicago Tribune (which did not run the cartoons). Siegel called the cartoons "very amateurish and very vile" before arguing that "it seems Orwellian to talk about this at such length without showing the images." Siegel also tangled briefly with Warren, who asserted that "characterizing the cartoons in great detail" was sufficient to cover the story.

Continue ReadingFormer NY Press Editor in Chief on CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’

The impetus behind the walkout was apparently a refusal by the newspaper's publishers to print the Danish cartoons that caricature Muhammad and have caused protests and riots in several countries. In an e-mail to the New York Observer, editor in chief Harry Siegel explained that "the editorial group -- consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah ... have no desire to be free speech martyrs, but it would have been nakedly hypocritical to avoid the same cartoons we'd criticized others for not running." Siegel went on to say that he had long dreamed of running the Press, thought that the staff had "come quite a ways in only a few months towards restoring the paper's tarnished editorial reputation and credibility," and hoped "that under new ownership and leadership it can again be an invaluable read for all good Gothamites."

Continue ReadingNew York Press Editorial Staff Resigns Over Cartoon Controversy