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Cablevision Buys Newsday, Stiffs Paper's Journalists

NY Observer: The Dolans March in, But Please, No Press! But when the time finally came for the officially sanctioned interview of Chairman James Dolan, it appeared not in Newsday but on the Cablevision-owned News 12 channel. “Dolan did a 10-, 15-minute interview with News 12, which is what we had to use in the story, and that’s a slap in the face,” said one reporter. “They could have made him available!”

It’s nothing new for newspaper owners (of the old family style) to want to tell their publications’ minions how to behave, and particularly how they (the owners and their interests) will be covered, if at all. Only the corporate ownership of recent times has been somewhat less authoritarian, and only some of those corporate owners; journalistic interference is hardly unknown in the modern era. But generally, poor treatment by corporate owners has been more related to shrinking resources and bottom-line demands than antipathy for the journalistic species.

Newsday’s new bosses, however, are making it pretty clear that they consider journalists a low form of life indeed. This will make their tenure at a once-great newspaper, um, interesting.

Cablevision was a more logical owner for Newsday than the competitors — combining media strengths and possibly creating a multi-media journalistic powerhouse in the New York City area. You have to wonder if it’ll work, at an organization where the owners seem to hold real journalism in contempt.

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