A Roundup of Reactions to the Boston Phoenix’s Demise
Sorting through the wealth of stuff written in the wake of the paper’s decision to close.
“This wounds” writes the Chicago Reader of its brother in alt-weekliness, the Boston Phoenix, in the wake of Thursday’s announcement that the paper is closing up shop. The sudden news reverberated around the web Thursday afternoon and a wealth of reactions and tributes have followed, so here’s our little guide to the stuff worth reading today:
Among The Phoenix‘s greatest legacies are the journalistic careers it has launched. Former employees who have gone on to write elsewhere sounded off in their various new homes yesterday. Among them, Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce certainly wins the award for most poetic. Writing in Grantland, he penned a nostalgia-soaked remembrance that’s both mournful and celebratory: “I mean. Jesus Mary, where do you start with the newspaper at which you grew so much, and learned so much, and came to respect the craft of journalism with a fervor that edged pretty damn close to the religious?” he asks.
The Boston Globe‘s Yvonne Abraham dedicated a column to her former employer as well, showing restraint by avoiding the curse words with which she would have liked to mark the occasion. “I would tell you how I truly feel about the Boston Phoenix closing, but that would involve using words that could only be published in the Phoenix,” she says.
Elsewhere, Phoenix alum and New York film critic David Edelstein sounds a bit more conflicted, noting that “I haven’t read it in years, even though it continued to publish many gifted writers. I think I stopped because it didn’t seem ‘special’ anymore, because alternative journalism doesn’t mean what it did back then. Most journalism—almost everything on the Internet—is ‘alternative.’ We won, and the Phoenix, I guess, finally lost.”
That, in case you missed it, is a theme struck by (non-alum) Peter Vigneron right here in Boston Magazine, who spoke with staffers past and present and wrote at more length about some of the financial pressures that forced the closure. “The Phoenix has not been the only smart, subversive kid on the block for a decade, at least … in 2013, there are only alternative routes to journalism.”
While each staff remembrance serves as a fun period piece of sorts, a window into newspapering as it was once practiced, the Boston Globe’s editorial board rightly focuses on what the Phoenix‘s closing means for the future: “Much will be written about the paper’s impact on local politics, music and film criticism, and the various journalistic careers it launched. It’s a substantial legacy, by any measure. But better to focus on the careers that might not be launched, the questions that might not be asked, and the stories that might not get told.”
And of course, with all this talk of the wonderful journalism that came out of the Phoenix, yours truly plans to set some time aside this weekend to work through Longform.com‘s “Greatest Hits” collection of stories to come out of the paper’s ranks in the past two decades, assembled to mark its closing.
Leave any other good pieces in the comments.