I, Harry, have some memories to share, after The Times broke the news Wednesday about The City, a new non-profit newsroom edited by Jere Hester and with a board led by Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith. That’s good news in a city that’s lost a lot of the budget and bandwidth for local reporting in recent years, and it came four days before what will be the first-ever reunion party, 10 years after the final print edition, of the New York Sun reboot created and overseen by Editor- and Eccentric-In-Chief Seth Lipsky. (And here’s a brand new podcast with Lipsky and former managing editor Ira Stoll talking with Pia Catton about the paper’s six-year run, starting just after 9/11.)
I remember the paper’s equal parts brilliant and bonkers style guide, requiring all spellings and definitions conform with Webster’s Second Unabridged (1913) and containing an immortal entry “prohibiting reporters from starting a story with the word ‘I’ unless the reporter has been shot in the groin.”
And I remember all too well the paper’s habit of changing reporters’ names when they were deemed too informal or otherwise wanted. Eventually, many of us reclaimed our names, which is why you many not recall the likes of A.L. Gordon, J.P. Avlon, R.H. Sager, yours not-so-truly H.R. Siegel, Benjamin Sarlin and, to bring it back to The City, Benjamin Smith.