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Juan González Retires from New York Daily News, Praised for His "Relentless Assault on Injustice"

March 30, 2016
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Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González has announced he is leaving the Daily News after 29 years. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, "Will miss hearing [Juan González]’s loud voice for the workers." Former Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins described Juan as "the best voice in the Daily News these past 29 years." In a message to the Daily News staff, the paper’s editor described Juan as a "legend who set his powerful, intelligent, compassionate voice on a 29-year course at the Daily News, standing up to every bully that came his way in his relentless assault on injustice."


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: And Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González is leaving the New York Daily News after 29 years. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, quote, "Will miss hearing [Juan González]’s loud voice for the workers in the @NYDailyNews. We hope to keep hearing it elsewhere!" Former Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins tweeted, quote, "The Great Juan Gonzalez, the best voice in the Daily News these past 29 years, headed out the door."

And those are some of the headlines. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I’m Juan González. Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I’m just thankful, Juan, you’re not headed out this door. But I have to say, your career of 29 years at the New York Daily News—I would like to read the letter that your editor-in-chief wrote about you that he’s released to the staff.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Oh, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: And you can’t interrupt.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: OK, all right, yeah. He released that on deadline yesterday afternoon while I was in the middle of writing a column, but—

AMY GOODMAN: Well, this is the letter from New York Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich. He writes, "Juan Gonzalez has been an inspiration to each of us at some point in our careers. Some of us grew up in the NYC area and were compelled to become journalists after reading his unsparing investigative work. Some of us have stood shoulder to shoulder with him as he covered with unmatched grace and integrity, many of the most important or harrowing stories in the city’s history. All of us have witnessed his unflinching devotion to fact-based journalism as an agent of social good.

"Juan’s accomplishments are too long to list here, but a few must be noted:" says the head of the New York Daily News.

He writes, "He won his first George Polk Award for commentary in 1998.

“In the wake of 9/11, as the country rallied around the rescue and recovery efforts, Juan was the first and lone voice calling out the cover up of the health hazards at Ground Zero. His courage to stand in the face of both local and national political power was unmatched. And his reporting, as history has shown, was dead-on.

“His investigation into the 2006 shooting of Sean Bell helped disrupt the NYPD’s narrative of the incident and led to a more complete telling of the facts while shedding light on institutional misdeeds in the police department that still resonates.

"In 2010, he exposed corruption surrounding the CityTime project, a computerized payroll system boondoggle. His reporting led to four federal fraud indictments. He won his second Polk Award for these columns."

And then he goes on to say, "Just one of these stories is enough to cement a journalist’s career. Having them all—and countless others—makes you a legend. And that’s what Juan Gonzalez is: a legend who set his powerful, intelligent, compassionate voice on a 29-year course at the Daily News, standing up to every bully that came his way in his relentless assault on [injustice]. ...

“A man of untiring energy, Juan and a co-author also published a seminal book, 'News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.'

“The magnitude of Juan’s work and importance to this newspaper and this city cannot be overstated. Which is why it is difficult for me to tell you that he has decided to take a half step into 'retirement' and will be leaving us as a [full-time] columnist at the end of April.

“I place quotes around the word 'retirement' because Juan will still write for us from time to time as he embarks on his new job as a journalism professor at Rutgers University. He will also be completing an upcoming book, while embarking on other similar projects as they arise.

“Not bad for a one-time Young Lord.

"Please join me in letting Juan know how much we appreciate him, and more importantly, how much we will miss him. There will never be another like him, and it has been an honor to share the same newsroom with him."

Again, those are the words of the Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich about Juan González, who is leaving the New York Daily News after 29 years. Juan, congratulations for an astounding career.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, thanks, Amy. But you know it’s time to leave when the people who are your bosses are telling you they were inspired to get involved in the profession because of you. So, you know, I’m one of these people that has always believed in term limits for politicians, and I think there should be term limits for columnists, and I’m way over the time limit—

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —for such limits. But I will still be here on Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, while you are leaving the Daily News, I’m very happy that you’re staying with us at your other DN, at Democracy Now!

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: My other DN, yes.


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