NY ‘Daily News’ Fires Gossip Columnist

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(AP) Gossip columnist Mitchell Fink, who wrote for the New York Daily News for 3 1/2 years, said Thursday he believes he was fired because of readers’ waning appetite for celebrity news in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Fink, who has also worked for People magazine and the now defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, was fired on Wednesday because of “budgetary reasons,” said Daily News spokesman Ken Frydman.

Fink said he was not surprised by his ouster.

“It doesn’t take a genius to get the message, albeit subtle, that they’re thinking maybe they can do without as much gossip,” Fink said. “I don’t think they can. I tried after Sept. 11 to definitely be less frivolous.”

He claimed that during his tenure he “broke more Page 1 stories than every other gossip columnist in the city combined,” but understood the newspaper’s decision. “They’ve made a statement,” he said. “Gossip is not as important.”

Frydman said the newspaper’s remaining two gossip columnists, George Rush and Joanna Molloy, would expand their reports to fill the void. Fink said he was not immediately sure what he would do next.

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