Wizard of the weeklies

  The cover of the last issue of The (Boston) Phoenix, March 15, 2013.

The cover of the last issue of The (Boston) Phoenix, March 15, 2013.

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com

I felt the accelerating passage of time the other day when reading of the death at 74 of Stephen Mindich, the long-time publisher of the “alternative weekly’’ empire whose flagship was the Boston Phoenix. Eventually the Internet killed it.

But for many years,  starting in the ‘70s, the Phoenix papers played an outsize role in political and arts coverage of their communities, financed by retail and event advertising and personal classified ads, some of which were pornographic. The papers could be seedy  and irresponsible but they also ran some very good reporting and writing and launched many journalists into distinguished careers – in the last couple of decades of the golden age of well-paid journalism. Mr. Mindich’s death was a reminder of how long ago the Boomer youth culture that spawned the Phoenix had its salad days.