As the word rippled around the country, I heard from Observer founder Don Hunt in Traverse City, ex Guides editor Erick Trickey in Cleveland, former News reporter Mark Peyko in Youngstown, and even my sister in Chicago. But the strangest call came that evening, when profiles editor Eve Silberman, working late, answered the Observer phone--only to be asked if she'd like to take advantage of a "terrific offer" on a three-day-a-week (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) subscription to the News. The price was right--just $1.25 a week. "But the News is closing!" Silberman exclaimed. "Why would I subscribe to a paper that's closing?" Defensively, the caller replied that there would be a new paper in a different format--though she admitted, "We're as nervous as all get out" about the future.
As it turns out, at least one subscriber had been prescient. Former city attorney Bruce Laidlaw used to pay for his News a year in advance, but lately signed up for just six months. He says "rumors" about the paper's possible demise made him nervous about committing longer term.
An hour ago, I called the News to ask what will happen to my own home subscription. I sat through a canned spiel about how they'd be contacting subscribers in the next few weeks, waited on hold for a few minutes, and was rewarded by reaching a terrific customer service rep.