Sad news rocketed around my Twitter feed yesterday afternoon: the Boston Phoenix is shutting down. A vital, intelligent alternative newsweekly, the Phoenix had an impressive track record of serving as a proving ground for talented journalists and critics-a proud history confirmed and celebrated by the outpouring of remembrances across the Internet.
I’m adding my own bittersweet tribute here on The Torch today because the Phoenix provided a great platform for civil libertarians throughout the years.
FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate has been a longtime columnist for the Phoenix, writing about a wide range of civil liberties issues and controversies. FIRE supporters will remember Harvey’s yearly campus "Muzzle" awards, in which he exposed campus censorship and hypocrisy in his own inimitable style. For a recent sample, check out Harvey’s 15th annual Muzzles on campus column from last July. Until 2009, Harvey also penned a blog for the Phoenix, the Free for All. Author, attorney, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer was a regular in the pages of the Phoenix, as well.
And I’m proud to say that one of my first pieces as a FIRE staffer was published by the Phoenix. Way back in February of 2007, Greg and I wrote an article for the Phoenix about students being punished for Facebook and MySpace posts. (Yes, MySpace—this was 2007, remember.) I remember being thrilled to see it in print, and we’ve got a framed copy hanging here in our Philadelphia office.
So a sincere thanks to the Phoenix for providing a powerful platform for so many years. It will be very much missed.