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Free Paper Without Free Expression

Swedes not laughing.

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As it turns out, the giveaway subway tabloid Metro doesn’t have a sense of humor about its being a giveaway subway tabloid. Daily Show segment producer Elliott Kalan was fired from his weekly gig as a humor columnist after his piece in the August 3 edition, titled “Newspapers: Information’s Horse & Buggy,” declared, “Nobody reads newspapers anymore … As this very copy of Metro shows, the only way to get most people to read a newspaper is to literally force it into their hands.” According to a Metro staffer, Kalan’s column was read by Chris Spalding, the interim CEO of Metro International (which was founded in Stockholm), who was in New York on business. “Our New York publisher, Daniel Magnus, said that the CEO told him we had to fire Elliott immediately,” says the staffer. Kalan was informed that his column had been dropped the following week. “I don’t really know what happened; my assumption is that the wrong person saw it and didn’t get the joke. They’re very straightforward people, the Swedes,” says Kalan. Metro didn’t return calls for comment.

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