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The New York Sun

The New York Sun was a contemporary five-day daily newspaper published in New York City from 2002 until 2008. When it debuted on 2002-04-16, it became "the first general interest broadsheet newspaper to be launched in New York in two generations." The newspaper's president and editor-in-chief was Seth Lipsky, former editor of The Forward; its managing editor (and a company vice president) was Ira Stoll. Its last number issue was published on 2008-09-30, amidst a historic week of financial losses in the American economy. The paper's motto, displayed on its masthead and website, was "It Shines For All." This motto is also the name of a blog that was part of the Sun's online presence along with its official website

An earlier newspaper in New York also named The Sun began publication in 1833 and merged with the New York World-Telegram in 1950. Other than their shared name, motto and masthead, there was no connection between the current Sun and its namesake (except that when the current paper launched, it carried the solution to the last crossword puzzle of the earlier paper). The earlier Sun was housed at the corners of Broadway and Chambers Streets (where a clock still bears the name) but the current paper published from The Cary Building at Church and Chambers.

In a letter to readers published on the front page of the 2008-09-04 edition, Lipsky announced that the paper would "cease publication at the end of September unless we succeed in our efforts to find additional financial backing. The paper published its last edition on 2008-09-30.


The New York Sun was well known for its learned and serious arts coverage, which included such critics as Adam Kirsch on literature, Jay Nordlinger on classical music, Joel Lobenthal on dance, Lance Esplund, Maureen Mullarkey, and David Cohen on art, Francis Morrone on art and architecture, Otto Penzler on mystery writing, Eric Ormsby on poetry, Carl Rollyson on biography, Amanda Gordon as society editor and Will Friedwald on jazz. The Sun also received critical praise for its sports section, whose writers included Steven Goldman, Thomas Hauser, Sean Lahman, Tim Marchman, and John Hollinger. Its crossword puzzle, edited by Peter Gordon, has been called one of the two best in the United States .

Editorial stance

Stoll characterized the Sun's political orientation as "right-of-center," and an associate of Conrad Black predicted in 2002 that the paper would be "certainly neoconservative in its views." Editor-in-chief Lipsky described the agenda of the paper's prominent op-ed page as "limited government, individual liberty, constitutional fundamentals, equality under the law, economic growth ... standards in literature and culture, education. The Sun's roster of columnists included many prominent conservative and neoconservative pundits, including William F. Buckley, Jr., Michael Barone, Daniel Pipes, and Mark Steyn.

The Sun was "known for its pugnacious coverage of Jewish-related issues"; in particular, it was "a strong proponent of Israel's right to defend itself." It published articles by pro-Israel reporter Aaron Klein.

The paper courted controversy in 2003 with an unsigned February 6 editorial arguing that protestors against the Iraq war should be prosecuted for treason.

According to Scott Sherman, writing in the left-wing magazine The Nation (4/30/07), the Sun was "a broadsheet that injects conservative ideology into the country's most influential philanthropic, intellectual and media hub; a paper whose day-to-day coverage of New York City emphasizes lower taxes, school vouchers and free-market solutions to urban problems; a paper whose elegant culture pages hold their own against the Times in quality and sophistication; a paper that breaks news and crusades on a single issue; a paper that functions as a journalistic SWAT team against individuals and institutions seen as hostile to Israel and Jews; and a paper that unapologetically displays the scalps of its victims."

In the same article, Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan's chief of staff at the United Nations, described the Sun as "a pimple on the backside of American journalism." According to Sherman, Brown "accepts that the paper's obsession with the UN translates into influence... he admitted the Sun "does punch way above its circulation number, on occasion." He goes on to say, "Clearly amongst its minuscule circulation were a significant number of diplomats. And so it did at times act as some kind of rebel house paper inside the UN. It fed the gossip mills and what was said in the cafeterias." Brown's insult was in the context of the Sun's reporting of the UN's central role in the Saddam Hussein Oil-for-Food scandal.

Adweek columnist Tom Messner called the Sun "the best paper in New York" (5/14/07), noting that "The New York Sun is a conservative paper, but it gets the respect of the left. The Nation's April 30 issue contains an article on the Sun's rise by Scott Sherman that is as balanced an article as I have ever read in the magazine (not a gibe; you don't read The Nation for balance).

Catholic commentator Richard John Neuhaus, writing in First Things, described the Sun as a paper that had, “made itself nearly indispensable for New Yorkers”

Relationship with The New York Times

The Sun was founded by a group of investors including Conrad Black with the intent of providing an alternative to The New York Times. It would put Manhattan and New York state news on its front page (in contrast to the Times' emphasis on national and international news over local issues). The Sun's managing editor Ira Stoll had been a longtime critic of this policy of the Times, as well as what he considered to be liberal bias in Times reporting, in his media watchdog blog When became defunct, its Web traffic was redirected to the Sun website.


The Audit Bureau of Circulations confirmed that in its first six months of publication the Sun had an average circulation of just under 18,000. By 2005 the paper reported an estimated circulation of 45,000. In December 2005 the Sun withdrew from the Audit Bureau of Circulations to join the Certified Audit of Circulations, whose other New York clients are the free papers The Village Voice and amNewYork, and began an aggressive campaign of free distribution in select neighborhoods. As of 2007 the paper claimed a readership of 150,000.

The Sun's online edition was accessible for free since August 2006.

While the Sun claimed "150,000 of New York City's Most Influential Readers Every Day," according to April 2007 article in The Nation, its [the Sun's] own audit indicated that "the Sun is selling 13,211 hard copies a day and giving away more than 85,000. (By contrast, the Daily News sells about 700,000 copies a day.) In an attempt to lasso subscribers in certain New York ZIP codes, the Sun recently offered free subscriptions for a full year, an unusual way for a newspaper to build circulation."

The Sun acquired the web address in 2007.

Obama-Odinga Controversy

In June 2008, New York Sun columnist Daniel Johnson became the subject of controversy regarding his January 9th, 2008 article "The Kenyan Connection", in which he linked to several forged documents on the site Wikileaks. In the column, Johnson suggested Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was the paternal cousin of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and went on to allege that Odinga had in fact signed a MOU agreement agreeing to institute Islamic Sharia Law if elected. To support his claims, he linked to an alleged copy of the agreement appearing on popular website Wikileaks, yet bypassed the site's commentary identifying the documents as known forgeries. In light of this controversy, a critic of the paper raised questions regarding the New York Sun's veracity and journalistic integrity.

In his June 9th blog at Guernica Magazine, Joel Whitney pointed out Johnson's redistribution of the smear, saying

"Wikileaks calls the fake MOU part of a "plot to frame Odinga and Obama" and notes that their calling the document a fake "did not stop Kenyan and US proponents of the document deliberately avoiding the WikiLeaks analysis by linking directly to the memorandum, as opposed to its description page [where it was plainly described as fake]." I think the New York Sun has some questions to answer about the veracity of its reporting, the rigorousness of its fact checking, and the integrity of its enterprise."


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