THE rambunctious doings at the New York Post have taken on the look of many of the front pages that have characterized the Big Apple's feistiest - and the nation's oldest - daily newspaper.
On March 19, a federal bankruptcy judge cleared the way for real estate magnate Abraham Hirschfeld to acquire the financially strapped paper from developer Peter Kalikow, who is in bankruptcy proceedings. It was after an earlier court ruling to turn the paper over to Mr. Hirschfeld that Post employees in effect took over the newsroom, devoting large amounts of news space to denigrating their new owner.
What happens now at the paper, established in 1801 by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, is anyone's guess. Hirschfeld presumably retains control of the paper until such time as he wishes to sell it - assuming that he goes ahead with his decision to complete the purchase of the Post. Some other prospective buyers say they would also like to acquire the paper.
Whatever transpires, one cannot help wishing the Post well. Unfortunately, it still lives up to its reputation for sensationalism. But the paper also is known for solid investigative reporting. And its editorial pages - generally Republican and conservative in outlook - win high marks from many New Yorkers eager to read an opinion different from the more liberal outlook of the city's other dailies. That is why so many business people can be seen reading the Post on the train on their way home each night.
It is now expected that the Post's editorial voice will swing back to the center, or even to the left.
Whatever its politics, the Post faces many challenges. New York is the only major press market in the United States with four dailies still competing for advertising dollars.
The Post is a New York landmark. Whether the newsroom's recent rebellion was the papers "finest hour," as some Post staffers contend, is open to question; but it was certainly energetic - a quality that comes to mind when one thinks of the New York Post. We hope the Post will be around another 192 years, keeping readers wide awake on the long ride home.