RIP Boston Phoenix
The Boston Phoenix is no more.
Play it off like it’s not a big deal, or you saw it coming, or your knew the switch to a glossy cover was a bad idea; all those things may be true, but it doesn’t mean much now. Not to be too dramatic, but waking up this morning, Boston is missing a little piece of its soul.
There’s no point in me trying to eulogize the newspaper, a task better left to others who will do a much better job somewhere else. The reasons for its closure are pretty stark, and what’s done is done. Unfortunately this is the current reality for local journalism, where excellent writers and editors are being asked to do more with less and less and less until…
But, for once, this isn’t meant to be soaked in pessimism.
Instead, we’d like to send off the Phoenix with a tip of the cap and a sincere thank you for 46 years of existence. Also a thank you to the awesome, passionate Phoenix staff, some of whom we’ve been lucky enough to talk, drink and work with in various capacities over the last five years. People like Derek Kouyoumjian, Shaula Clark, Barry Thompson, Ariel Shearer, Melissa Ostrow and others, people I personally still like besides the fact that their publication nominated FratRap.tumblr for a “Best Website” award. I mean, they published a
thinly veiled blatant college creep show fantasy story with the byline “Sleezy Treez,” got God’s sake. How are you not going to miss a paper like that?
Of course, the one person who hasn’t been mentioned is Chris Faraone, tattooed co-founder turned sometimes (by that I mean never) JTTS blggr. His absence here was telling: instead of bearing the cross for hardcore underground hip hop in the face of internet haters, he was traveling the country, writing a book, winning awards, hosting art shows, covering politics wasted and killing at least one prominent conservative pundit (that we know of). I was there when it first popped off…
In October 2008, I was into my second month of crashing at a friend’s place near Boston College campus on Comm Ave, a shining example of the consequences of poor planning. As the proud owner of a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from BU since June, I had assumed no more than three months–which was not coincidentally the amount of time left on my apartment lease–would be necessary for me to find at very least a full-time entry-level job as a proverbial big city writer. Yada yada yada…I’m crashing at my friend’s place three months later, and only through his amazing success as a full-time online poker player am I able to give myself an extra two months to either find something remotely resembling a real job or head home in defeat.
It was around that time when I got a call from Chris. He told me that he had just been offered and accepted the job which I knew he had spent the past few days or weeks fighting for: staff writer at the Boston Phonenix. After paying his dues as a writer–hunting publications for paychecks, never saying no to a story, mastering the often thankless grind of chasing stories–he was finally getting his due with a proper writing job, a staff writing job. I don’t know if he felt the same way, but it felt important to me, a sign that the same privilege I was seeking–to be able to write for a living and make a living by writing–was still possible, however modest the financial gains.
More importantly, that’s when Chris introduced me to his then-current editor at the Boston Herald. I picked up his beat as a freelancer, which allowed me to stay in Boston and go from writing stories in exchange for Upper Crust gift certificates so I didn’t have to spend money on food (true story) and eat pizza three times daily, to writing for a daily big city newspaper and getting paid for it.
Five years later, I’m still writing for a living, and I’m almost positive that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for that event. The Phoenix gained a great reporter, and the Herald gained…well, just me.
But again, let’s not get stuck in pessimism. I have full confidence that the elemental force that is Chris Faraone is too powerful for any single newspaper to contain, and that as long as there’s a story to report, he’s going to keep on reporting it–it only remains to be seen what drugs he’ll be doing it on.
In the meantime, wanna blog for us?