RIP Boston Phoenix

When this issue of SCN hits the streets, it will also be the same week for the last issue of the Phoenix.

I think I nearly lost my breath when I found out that after 47 years, one of my favorite papers would be closing its doors. I started reading the Phoenix when I first arrived in Boston in 1979. It was still a young paper by newspaper standards, 12 years young, to be exact. What did I like about it? Well, unlike Boston’s two newspapers, the Phoenix always seemed to have its fingers on the local happenings around Boston and elsewhere. It was a lot more informative than the Globe or the Herald, in my opinion. The people at the Phoenix always knew what was really going on and you got a more realistic prospective from it than the other two.

What I liked about the Phoenix more than anything else was that it was the type of paper that fought for the little guy, which is something that I’ve always wanted Spare Change to be. When the Phoenix told a story, they did so without a lot of the political correctness that sometimes seems to hamper other papers or magazines — they did it without a whole lot of fanfare. It didn’t matter if you were liberal or conservative, the Phoenix was on our side, period.

Unfortunately, to run a paper you need money. When the Phoenix became more laced with ads, some of the bite went away, although it was still a damn good paper. They always treated Spare Change News with respect, and covered our organization through good and bad.

When we began working with Mass Web, the company that also prints the Phoenix, I was hoping that both papers would work more closely together. Unfortunately, because of the hard times we were facing ourselves, we had to leave Mass Web, so those hopes never materialized. I wasn’t a real big fan of the Phoenix’s new magazine-like makeover; it looked more like the Improper Bostonian on steroids than the Phoenix. But I understand the reasoning behind it. Like I said, running a newspaper is a business, especially now that print media seems to be going the way of the dinosaur.

I guess I really don’t understand it; Internet news, I mean. People like their news fast these days. But I gotta tell you folks, getting your news online isn’t really the same. To me, it’s just headlines. I even have one of those online subscriptions that sends you a computerized copy of your newspaper in the morning. Good thing it’s free, ‘cause I never read it; I don’t have time and it always feels rushed. I still enjoy walking to the store on a Sunday morning and picking up the Sunday paper with my coffee and reading it at home. Maybe I’m the dinosaur. R.I.P., Phoenix.

—James Shearer

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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