We’ve been around for a while, but we’ll try to keep it brief. The past is prologue, or so they say. So best to just get on with it.
Jed Morey founded the company in 2002 as an offshoot of the Morey Organization, which owned and operated radio stations since 1987. At the time, the company also owned and operated a concert and catering venue on Long Island within the radius of its New York broadcast properties. Cell phones and social media hadn’t yet taken over the world, people still read newspapers and listened to the radio. Things were hunky dory.
The publishing division was originally created as a complement to the company’s flagship radio station, 92.7 WLIR. For those who grew up in New York during the 80’s and 90’s, WLIR needs no introduction. For the uninitiated, WLIR was the country’s first alternative rock station – or “New Wave” as it was called back then. Duran Duran, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths. Later, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, No Doubt. WLIR was more than a radio station; it was a lifestyle.
Morey Publishing was formed in 2002 to launch an alternative newspaper to complement WLIR. The Press was essentially the Village Voice of Long Island. An alternative to the mainstream media. Though it was a completely different business model, the spirit was essentially the same. It made sense that the alternative radio company of record in New York would have an alternative publication.
In 2004, the company divested the radio division and sold the concert venue. All that was left was the Long Island Press.
Over the next several years, the Long Island Press would go on to win hundreds of awards and become the conscience of Long Island. The Long Island Press team was fearless and relentless. We questioned authority, challenged conventional wisdom and spoke truth to power. The core discipline and values that defined our work became part of our DNA and would ultimately prevent our demise.
The rest of the story is pretty typical. Craigslist. Facebook. Twitter. The disruption was swift and overwhelming. All at once, it seemed, people stopped picking up newspapers. (And we were free!) Advertisers started to retreat. The industry was collapsing in on itself. Newsrooms were being cut. Bureaus were being shuttered.
Pretty soon, the entire world would fall into a deep recession. At that point, there was no turning back. So we followed the herd for a while. We cut our print run. Got small. Thought small. Held on for dear life because we truly felt that our work had meaning and we served a greater good. Our investigative journalism had thrown corrupt politicians out of office, shed light on environmental disasters, given voice to victims of abuse and addiction and so much more.
We felt a moral imperative to find a way to sustain our journalistic outlet despite clear evidence the industry and economy were crumbling around us. This much we knew: we sure could write.