J.M.W. Turner's "Chichester Canal" at the Tate Gallery, London

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Phoenicia Times

As Janis Chron wrote in her email of Friday 15 October, a column appeared in the New York Times edition of  Wednesday 13 October, written by Peter Applebome, about the demise of the Phoenicia Times (and of the Olive Press).

There’s often something appropriately operatic about a newspaper’s farewell, but as far as group hugs go, it would be hard to beat the one that accompanied the final edition last week of The Phoenicia Times, with its memorable slogan, “Covering the Town of Shandaken, Wild Heart of the Catskills’ High Peaks.” 

There were farewell columns by the food columnist, the hiking columnist, the farming columnist and most of the paper’s regular voices. There were heartfelt farewells from readers (“Loss does not describe it. I see it as creating a very bleak vacuum”). And there was a quite lovely front-page obituary, with its reference to long-dead Catskill papers: The Hancock True Flag, The Pine Hill Sentinel, The Star of Delaware.

“When newspapers die, there’s no headstone to mark their passing. But I’d like to imagine that somewhere in the Catskill Mountains, in a clearing on a hillside ringed with a crumbling stone wall, there’s a little plot where mourning readers can pay their respects.”

What was most interesting about the tribute was its provenance. It began as a post on a relatively new Catskill Web site, The Watershed Post, and it was written by the site’s editor, Lissa Harris.

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