a dimmed star in Lebanon
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 23, 2009
Pssst, Diamond, K (for “knowledgeable” – not her real first initial) said to me online on January 15.
I have been sworn to secrecy, but an anonymous source tells me that the daily star officially went bankrupt yesterday,
H used to say that it has been on the cusp of bankruptcy for years, I replied. I’m not surprised.
And I wasn’t. I wasn’t surprised to see unofficial confirmations appear on various blog’s, including Qifa Nabki’s – nor to see the three official articles that appeared yesterday on Menassat, Gulf News, and the LA Times websites. But I am sad.
The Daily Star, for all that I love to make fun of it, has been a rich source of news and analysis for English-speakers around the Middle East since its founding more than 50 years ago. Its editor, the legendary, Kamel Mroue, was murdered for his work with the paper – and yet it continued publishing, with little effort to curry favor with one or another political faction.
It hasn’t done well in recent years – a partnership with the International Herald Tribune evidently ended when the IHT realized that the Daily Star was pocketing the moneys allotted for publishing the IHT each day, rather than printing it, which the DS explained was due to its need for funds. And advertising – as everywhere in the Middle East – is sparse. But the thought of English-speakers in (and interested in) Lebanon having only Naharnet and Now Lebanon as their sources for news and analysis chills my blood.
At the same time, I can’t help but think that the paper’s economic woes were perhaps best forecast by its massively confusing economic and business reporting. I’ll close with a link to one of my all-time favorite blog posts: an analysis of an article on the Lebanese banking scene that Riemer Brouwer did in July 2007. I read it at work, laughed until tears came to my eyes, and then read it out loud to H. Here it is – enjoy.