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The Great New York Newspaper Strike Of 1962

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by LongTimeListener, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member


    VF has a Web-only article on the strike against seven papers, which lasted 114 days and helped kill four of the papers. It also unwittingly boosted the careers of writers like Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe and Nora Ephron by granting them freedom and letting them find out how much money was available in freelance. Says Talese: "When that strike terminated our involvement as daily journalists, for the first time in my life I knew what it was like to have time to research in a way that I wanted to."

    There is much that sounds familiar to the current day: union intransigence, publisher arrogance, and the inevitability of technology eliminating most of the jobs. There's also a lot that reminds how glorious the old newspaper era is, such as President Kennedy weighing in and the decline in flower-shop sales because people weren't finding out who died and when was the funeral.

    And there's the inherent sexism of the day that always tickles me. During the strike, James Reston read his column on TV, noting: "If some beautiful girl gets married this week, the television may let us see her gliding radiantly from the church. But what about all those ugly girls who get married every Sunday in the Times?”

    All in all a very enjoyable piece on an event I had never heard anything about. Would be interested in some first-hand memories going way way back from some of our, ahem, more distinguished posters.
  2. Canuck Pappy

    Canuck Pappy Member

    I love stories like this and hearing about the glory days of newspapers. Amazing how many people worked in the NYC newspapers back then --17,000.
    I love colleagues talking about staffing 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Thirty years ago our paper had a cafeteria and the sports department numbered close to 20. Now we have a room with a microwave, fridge and a staff of three.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Well, I was 3 for that one. For more on that, read Richard Kluger's book on the Herald Tribune, "The Paper."

    I went through one strike early in my career, and it was occasionally violent and just generally nasty on a daily basis. People eventually got pissed off and left, including our editor and our sports editor, and the news product went way downhill.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    One of the things I found most interesting was how the papers were divided ideologically, much like CNN/MSNBC/Fox News are today. Hmmmmm ....
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Also gave birth to the New York Review of Books.
  6. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    got my foot in the door in the biz thanks to the '78 strike in nyc -- when it was ending the copyboy staff at the nydn had lost about a half-dozen 'boys' from its total of 50 -- 50 copykids!! -- and i landed one of 'em. then i experienced the '90-91 strike, easily the worst, most gut-wrenching stretch in the biz. just awful. ugly every which way. the end of the innocence for me, when my dream job transfomed into my nightmare that made this all feel like a real 'job' in every negative way everyone else feels about THEIR jobs. yukky. :'( :'( :'(
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    The "conventional" wisdom that the unions killed the New York newspapers is baloney. It was television news which rendered afternoon newspapers meaningless.
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