Friday, October 9, 2015

Eric Foner on the *New York Daily News*

Growing-up as a working-class kid in North Jersey my family subscribed to two daily newspapers: The Morristown Daily Record and the Newark Star-Ledger.   In addition, my father would always bring home his worn and coffee-stained copy of the New York Daily News.  On the weekends we got the Sunday Daily News.  (I never remember seeing a copy of The New York Times in my house).

I always read the Daily News the same way. Since I was a New York sports fanatic I would always start with the back of the paper and work my way toward the middle.  I was a big fan of the cartoons of Bill Gallo. When I got to the end of the sports section I would  flip to the front page and start reading the non-sports-related news.  I always read Jimmy Breslin's column, but I am not quite sure why.  

Needless to say, I was thrilled back in 2010 when I wrote my first piece for the Daily News.  

I thought about those days in the 1970s reading the New York Daily News when I ran across historian Eric Foner's letter to the editor published in the October 6, 2015 issue of The New York Times.  Here it is:

Your article about the transformation of The Daily News (“Layoffs and Digital Shift at The Daily News May Signal the Tabloid Era’s End,” news article, Sept. 28) brings back memories of my days as a young City College history professor in the 1970s at the time of open admissions.

The students hailed from every conceivable racial and national background, and had widely differing degrees of preparation for college. In addition to history courses, I was assigned to teach remedial reading (a subject in which I had no training whatever).

I told the students at the outset to bring The New York Times to class each day; we would work on reading comprehension and vocabulary and also discuss what was going on in the world. The next day only a handful of students arrived with the paper. It turned out that The Times was simply not for sale in the neighborhoods where they lived. So we switched to The Daily News, available at every newsstand in New York.

Their reading improved during the term. Equally important, they learned a heck of a lot about the city in which they lived.

ERIC FONER