Insiders at Cablevision privately blame Investigations Editor Matthew Doig for the decline of the paper. Doig joined the Long Island paper in May of 2012 and the wheels came off the publication almost immediately. One source, a top Cablevision executive, said that Matt probably had good intentions, but his execution has been devastating to the paper. He overestimated the public’s dislike for law enforcement and quite frankly underestimated the intellect of the readers.
The executive, who wished to remain anonymous, was referring to Doig’s failed investigations into Nassau and Suffolk police agencies, as well as other law enforcement agencies. Doig’s style is viewed as better suited for a Star or Enquirer-type of tabloid rather than a daily newspaper.
Doig’s team, led by Tanya Lopez, Will Van Sant, Gus Garcia Roberts and the self-proclaimed “Gotcha Reporter,” Sandra Peddie, collectively threw out their journalistic ethics and created a series of one-sided and openly biased slam pieces. The result was a historic free fall in circulation, readership, and most importantly for the struggling daily, ad and sales revenues. Cablevision has reported losses of more than $100 million per year since Matt Doig’s hiring.
In fairness to Doig, newsprint in general is on the endangered species list. The NY Daily News is firing staff at a rapid rate due to decreased revenues. Still, The News’ decline pales in comparison to Newsday’s, and there is no distinctive style change connected to one central figure as in the case with Doig.
There are obviously very few Doig supporters in and around Cablevision, but people close to the much-maligned investigative team point to criminal investigations that were created by their scandal-a-week method. In truth, the investigations have led to very few significant falls from grace, just minor issues like time sheet disputes, election law gaffs and government mishaps. Certainly “Watergate” has not been duplicated by Newsday’s crack team of flawed characters.
Three years of horrendous failures does not make Matt Doig a likely candidate to survive the new ownership’s chopping block. The bigger question is, does Doig ever work again at this level? Matt Doig and the aforementioned team may be done as credible journalists, but may have built a three year body of work that will impress mostly super market tabloids.