Jim Dwyer: Departure of Barrett/Robbins ‘A Colossal Loss’

New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer called in after reading our story about the departure of Wayne Barret and Tom Robbins from The Village Voice to lament about the state of journalism.

“It is a colossal loss,” he said. “There is more historical knowledge about city government and politics between those two guys than you find in most newsrooms. So much of what we know about power in the city comes from those two guys.”

Dwyer is currently on leave from The Times, and now with the departure of Robbins and Barrett from the scene, his “About New York” column remains one of the few bastions of quality investigative reporting left in the city.

Dwyer singled out Barrett’s work on Rudy Giuliani, which he said provided insight into what motivates the sometimes bizarre behavior of the former mayor, and Robbins’ investigations into the Housing Development Corporation as examples of the kind of reporting seldom seen anymore.

And he lamented a journalistic universe that he said sought “click-throughs” more than uncovering corruption

“There has been a lot of upheaval in print journalism. This is about more than an upheaval in print journalism. It’s really about an upheaval in the quality of investigative reporting in New York,” he said. “You can’t monetize investigative journalism. You can only protect it.”

Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that Barrett has landed a gig at The Nation Institute, and Barrett spoke to Azi Paybarah telling him that he was told he was being laid off “for budget reasons.”

Jim Dwyer: Departure of Barrett/Robbins ‘A Colossal Loss’