NEW YORK — HBO’s new film on newspaper columnists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill romanticizes an era in New York and journalism that feels like a long, long time ago.

The fact that it’s very recent history makes “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” – directed by director Jonathan Alter – partly a tragedy.

The two men embodied a time when New York was a rollicking and complicated place, and each lived for the streets and stories of the little guys who made the city run. Every city had their own Breslins or Hamills, who made the powerful tremble or shake their fists. Their newspapers were required reading.

Toward the end of the documentary, which premieres at 8 p.m. Monday, filmmakers unspool a statistic that shocks. In 1988, the New York Daily News, the tabloid both Breslin and Hamill called home at times, had 400 reporters and editors. Thirty years later, that number was 45.

That, too, is a story replicated across the country, where local journalism is in crisis. The media industry continues to implode. This week alone over1,000 journalism jobs were lost in layoffs announced by Gannett, Verizon Media and BuzzFeed.

Breslin died at 88 in 2017. Hamill is 83 and lives in Brooklyn.

– From news service reports


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