NEWSROOM 1986-2000, 2007

News becomes history as soon as it is reported. What fascinates me in talking about history is the paradoxical movement backwards while obviously propelling ahead with a story into the future. The 15-year time period covered in the show is of a recent past, a past that still unites many New Yorkers in recognition of a city at once familiar and long gone. The NYC tabloids New York Daily News and New York Post serve as practical tools that unite the population around shared joys and fears; they help spread the city’s gossip and form its identity. Whether one buys them or not, a glance at the headlines while passing by a deli or waiting for a bus is enough to be connected to the diverse masses that make up their readership. Never mind if what is reported is mostly disaster or scandal. In retrospect, news before 9/11/2001 makes this megalopolis look like a quaint town full of petty crooks, with this accident or that occasional murder resulting in the loss of a single life. A rape in Central Park and a love triangle on Long Island were the two longest running news stories of New York in the 15 years leading up to the end of the millennium.

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