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The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
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Nov. 18, 2009, 8 a.m.

The once-defunct New York Sun is slowly rising

Seth Lipsky is ever-so-slowly resurrecting The New York Sun as a stripped-down, online-only version of the newspaper he ran between 2002 and 2008. “We plan to build it up,” he told me yesterday, referring to nysun.com.

His most-recent addition to the site is a 20-week run of crosswords by the Sun’s highly acclaimed, former puzzle editor, Peter Gordon. It’s a batch of crosswords that were left unpublished when the Sun folded more than a year ago, and cruciverbalists will have to shell out $20 for the puzzles. “We’re going to look at whether there’s interest and go from there,” Lipsky said.

I first wrote about the Sun peeking over the horizon in April, when society columnist Amanda Gordon (no relation to Peter) returned to covering benefits and parties for the site. Her compensation amounts to a revenue share with Lipsky for the sale of event photographs, like this recent gallery.

It’s notable that Lipsky — whose company, Two SL LLC, now owns the Sun’s name, archives, and website — has only added material that can pay for itself. He’s also published occasional opinion pieces by himself and others. “I want it to be self-sustaining,” he told me.

That will necessarily limit how much can be done with the site, which currently serves low-revenue ads (and some promotion for Lipsky’s new book) to an estimated 64,000 monthly visitors. Still, Lipsky said he hopes to bring more reporting to the site in a mix that might resemble the old paper, “which had a pretty lively national and international beat and culture stuff, too.”

For now, it’s society coverage, various musings on world affairs, and a well-regarded, $1-per-week crossword puzzle — an appropriately motley mix for the once-scrappy news organization with an outsized reputation. Peter Gordon has some other interesting plans for his puzzles, which I’ll write about soon.

POSTED     Nov. 18, 2009, 8 a.m.
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