The Words of the Selle Family
The closing of the New York City Tribune for four months was not only an unusual news event, reported with interest in metropolitan- area newspapers and on local TV -- it was the beginning of a spiritual odyssey. For those four months, after the shutdown of the paper on August 26, 1985, a group of City Tribune editors, reporters, and photographers, myself among them, put down their pencils and light meters and worked to stir up the religious community of the United States.
We responded to the urgent nationwide need for church members to promote CAUSA seminars, volunteering to work in more than a dozen states from Maine to Oregon, until many of us were called back to bring out the first issue of the resurrected paper on God's Day, 1986.
Going out to the states or staying in New York City to work with clergymen involved for most of us a great leap of faith. Switching from a secular to a spiritual mission required a spiritual changing of gears. Just as in accepting a new leader or loving an enemy, we found that we had to swallow our concepts and proceed into the future with faith that God would guide the outcome.
On returning, some of my coworkers shared with me about their experiences. The City Tribune's international editor, who worked as city leader of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said,
Having spent the past ten years in various secular missions, it was an extremely valuable experience for me to concentrate on spiritual work for an intense period of four months. It was a chance to prove to myself personally that the standard of self- sacrifice required in center life and that demanded by my mission as an editor are the same, though in totally different ways and that I am capable of both.
Our deputy international editor, who retrained in his Queens home church neighborhood to work as an assistant district leader, shared:
In the church, through lack of contact with the "outside world; we get to think that everyone is against us. But the refreshing thing about this work [with clergy] is that I met quite a few ministers who are open-minded, not only about CAUSA but about Father and the Unification Church as well.
The paper's Captive World editor and computer specialist, Michael Kiely, had a productive experience in Boston, where he served as the region's workshop director and contacted clergymen and others for CAUSA seminars. He told me:
After having spent three and a half years at the paper without lecturing Principle, and the previous seven years lecturing Principle solely from the Koran [he was a missionary in Tunisia], I was doubtful about my ability to reach an American, basically Christian, audience. So during workshops, late at night and early in the morning, I would study Divine Principle and the Bible quotes to go with it. And I would pray desperately that I could reach the hearts of the guests. I'm still moved when I remember praying with tears beneath the midnight sky at the workshop site [in the mountain, of New Hampshire] -- the sky encrusted with an awe-inspiring blizzard of stars!
The feeling of City Tribune members was well summed up by one brother who said:
I am eternally grateful to our True Parents for giving us this valuable opportunity. We were all able to symbolically share in a small way our True Father's indemnity in Dan- bury, and to be elevated with him to a new stage in the dispensation.
The New York City Tribune, formerly called The News World, was the original publication of the News World Communications chain, which now includes Notcias del Mundo, The Washington Times, The Middle East Times, and the magazines Insight and The World and I.
The new City Tribune to which the members have returned is a paper of twelve pages daily (Monday through Friday) with an entirely new, more conservative look, including vertical rules between columns of type; smaller headlines that deliver more information; a revolutionary new quadrant format for page layouts; and fewer and therefore more prominent photographs.
The paper has won major awards for its investigative reporting and is well known in conservative circles for its innovative Commentary section, which gives readers a diet of incisive opinion to help them penetrate the intellectual fog that tends to lie so heavily in many quarters of contemporary society.
The new City Tribune continues its tradition of being a paper with a punch far in excess of its size. Before ceasing publication, for example, it scooped the nation's media in revealing the questionable business dealings of Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and her husband, John Zaccaro. For its series, the paper was given the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) first- place award, a recognition that has been called second only to the Pulitzer in prestige within the journalism prof ion.
In addition, the City Tribune shocked the New York press in the summer of 1984 by publishing on a weekly basis an exclusive column by Mayor Edward Koch at a time when his book, Mayor, topped the best-seller lists. One major city tabloid unsuccessfully sought permission from the City Tribune to reprint the columns.
Also in 1984, the City Tribune won the coveted National Press Club award for an investigative series on New York City's subways.