Saturday, July 15, 1995
Columnist Murray Kempton, a New York newspaperman for as long as anyone can remember, was writing at his computer.
All around him in the offices of New York Newsday, there was overwhelming sadness.
He tried to lighten the funereal atmosphere. “All I lost was a hobby,” Kempton said.
“Look, this is not Bosnia, but all real tragedy is personal and to me this is personal. It’s only the disintegration of my family. This is a death in the family. That is the sadness.”
His colleagues were trying to digest the shutdown.
Some drank vodka and rum. Many hugged. Others cleaned out their desks. Still others stoically tapped out their stories for today’s paper. “It feels like we are in a bad dream,” said reporter Elaine Rivera.
The death knell sounded at 5 p.m., when staffers were called into a conference room.
Silence fell as they filed in. Rumors had been flying, but few expected anything this soon or this drastic.
“You were and are terrific,” Forst said. “Thank you. I love you all.”
Many burst into tears. Others appeared dazed.
“I am sad and angry and unhappy,” said reporter Russ Buettner. “As the shock wears off, those are feelings I’m left with.”
“This is hard news. This is heartbreaking,” said publisher Steven Isenberg. “Everyone played it to the bitter end. And this is a lousy ending.”
Photographer Jon Naso was on assignment when he got a message on pager that said, “Come Back. Newsday is gone.”
He rushed back to the newsroom. “I came back because I wanted to be with some of my colleagues.”