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Nat Hentoff Loses His Job

 
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 11:35 pm
Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA/Corbis

Weekend Edition Saturday, January 3, 2009 - Not immune to the tough economic times, The Village Voice " like many national media outlets forced to cut jobs " has seen several rounds of layoffs in recent years. Among those fired on Dec. 30: Nat Hentoff, an icon of American journalism and longtime prominent Voice columnist.

Fifty years after he began his association with the publication in 1958, Hentoff described his firing as being "like reading your own obituary while you're still alive."

In an interview, Hentoff says that the layoffs are troubling indications of the current state of media and newspapers.

"It's happening more and more: Those small papers in those small towns, some of them are folding," Hentoff says. "And that, of course, means... the Internet " which is fine, except what you get most of the time is people going to sites and blogs [with] which they already agree.

"I can't say it's exhilarating, but I've been through this before," Hentoff says. "I've been fired from some of the more prestigious publications over the years, so I can understand the tone of voice when I get the call."

Hentoff, 83, will continue to write a weekly column for the United Media syndicate and contribute pieces to The Wall Street Journal. His new book, At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene, is expected later in the year.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 1,173 • Replies: 14
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 12:08 am
@edgarblythe,
How in gawd's name can such a thing happen? He IS Jazz.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 06:32 am
It IS happening all over. A few months ago, my local paper announced that they were "rearranging" the paper a bit. Bottom line, there is now very little to read in that paper.

I get the Tampa Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. Putting them together, they feel about the same weight that one of them was in the past. Last weekend, in my neighborhood, there were representatives of the "Trib" in front of two stores, attempting to get new subscribers.

Sad.

I feel sorry for Hentoff, but he IS 83. I feel sorrier for the folks who are 38 and being fired.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 07:06 am
Print media seem to be in death throes. It was just announced a couple of says ago that the Boston Globe is planning a large layoff of newsroom personnel, reporters, columnists, editors. Some will be offered buy-outs on their contracts, others just laid off. As an indication of just how bad things are, the Globe has also stopped publishing a daily classified ads section. All the classifieds will now be lumped together in the weekend editions. Sad, sad, sad.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 08:26 am
stopped publishing a daily classified ads section _________

I thought those ads brought in substantial revenue -?
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 08:28 am
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:
Print media seem to be in death throes. It was just announced a couple of says ago that the Boston Globe is planning a large layoff of newsroom personnel, reporters, columnists, editors. Some will be offered buy-outs on their contracts, others just laid off. As an indication of just how bad things are, the Globe has also stopped publishing a daily classified ads section. All the classifieds will now be lumped together in the weekend editions. Sad, sad, sad.

Hi Merry, do you find it sad because a part of history is changing, or because you think we still need to see PRINTED news?

Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 09:34 am
@rosborne979,
Some intersting observations. I, for one, don't need to see the newsprint in my hands, but the people who write those features and in-depth stories are an invaluable part of the literary culture - Nat Hentoff, being one of them...though he and his voice are not disappearing...just changing venues.

As for losing the format of newspapers ... I welcome it disappearing. How many trees can we say goodbye to before we say "that's quite enough deforestation?
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 05:09 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
I thought those ads brought in substantial revenue -?


Display ads bring in a lot more revenue. And since they're submitted camera-ready by ad agencies they take a lot less manpower to put into print. Classifieds are a pain in the ass for the makeup people -- someone has to set the type, someone else has to proof-read it very carefully, a layout editor is needed to make sure they go in the proper slot. And so on. That's payroll-heavy for not all that much remuneration. Ads from the big stores and manufacturers are where the money is.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 05:12 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
Hi Merry, do you find it sad because a part of history is changing, or because you think we still need to see PRINTED news?


Both. I buy a daily paper every morning. If I was forced to read it exclusively on line, it would change my whole perception of the world. (Also, as a former newsperson myself, there are personal reasosns for the sadness,)
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 05:16 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
As for losing the format of newspapers ... I welcome it disappearing. How many trees can we say goodbye to before we say "that's quite enough deforestation?


I can sympathize with that sentiment. But the fact is that newsprint, the paper on which most newspapers are printed, is mostly made from recycled paper, not trees. It's the cheapest form of paper available. Ad would you advocate that we stop printing books because it depletes the trees in the rainforest? I don't want to read my books while scrolling on my monitor.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 06:45 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Have you looked at a Kindle? I'm a real book nut and I never thought I would want anything other than a book, then I borrowed a friend's Kindle. I loved it. I'm waiting for the price to come down and for there to be a better distribution of second hand downloads. I think it's the way newspapers will go too. You will plug in something to your computer, download the daily and go on your way. You will have to pay for the download.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 07:55 pm
Most of the paperboys that were seen in old black and white movies standing on a corner and screaming, "Paper, paper, get yer paper." are quite old, to say the least. So, at least child labor will not be affected that much. (There still might be a delivery boy/girl? But, they have a home. Some of those paper boys were homeless.)
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 08:09 pm
@Merry Andrew,
MA: I understand your thinking and feeling on this subject. Perhaps I overstated my case. Your point is valid about the use of recycled paper for newsprint.

We have differeing points of view here, though. I see better uses for recycled paper and wood pulp that go into newsprint. As a former technical writer, I was connected to publishing, too. I see the use of paper for newsprint and books as waning and may soon be outdated.

Change doesn't necessarily mean progress.

My preference for reading a novel is to pick up a book, not a monitor, or new fangled bookreader. However, a few years ago, I started reading the news online and never went back to physical newspaper.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 08:25 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
Change doesn't necessarily mean progress.


Agree with you totally, Ragman.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Nov, 2009 06:06 pm
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/hentoff1.asp
The archive of Nat Hentoff's most recent work. I miss reading him in The Village Voice.

His latest article was on November 4th:
http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/hentoff110409.php3
0 Replies
 
 

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