Sun’s Lipsky: ‘If We Fail, the Newspaper and Its Voice Will Die’

Seth Lipsky, editor of The New York Sun, tells Media Mob he isn’t sure this is the tightest spot his paper has ever been in.

“There have been some very close moments,” he said. “Very close moments.”

He added that this was the first time the paper has published a message to its readers about its financial crisis in its own newspaper (or on its Web site).

When asked about the overall financial pressures in the paper, he said, “I don’t know how to answer that. There’s cost pressure. It’s been across the board.”

“Some costs have been rising, including our distribution costs, and the sort,” he said.

He said the paper has not been afflicted by the ad revenue downturn. “Other papers are reporting declines in ad revenues. In fact, we have not had declines in ad revenue. We’ve had sharp ad revenue growth and not just this year, but the last two years. Admittedly, it’s from a much smaller base.”

Every newspaper across the country has been cutting staff. The Sun has not—yet. “We haven’t cut staff over the summer and our total staff is probably at basically our highest level. We’ve moved people around in the various departments, so some have grown and others have shrunk. We have a bigger online department and that kind of stuff.”

Still, his message to readers is a somber one, in which he writes that the paper’s financial losses are “substantial” and that he has been in “real” discussions with various newspaper proprietors, but added that only some of those conversations are ongoing and would not guarantee that the hunt would be successful. He quotes David Remnick as a fan of the paper, and says that among the paper’s accomplishments, it has graduated reporters to papers like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the New York Post and the Daily News.

“Our editors and backers are even more of the view that there is indeed a place for the kind of intelligent, thoughtful broadsheet we envision in our city, which is why we are scrambling to find others who share this vision and the sense of possibility,” he writes. “If we fail, the newspaper and its voice will die. All the more energetic will be our efforts in the coming weeks to ensure that the conversation we’ve begun these past few years will continue.”

Sun’s Lipsky: ‘If We Fail, the Newspaper and Its Voice Will Die’