“I figure there is no opportunity to make fun of the Straight Shooter himself that you aren’t interested in,” guesses Charles Star, forwarding an item from The New York Observer’s John Koblin claiming fewer than 3 dozen persons have have opted to become paid subscribers to Newsday online since the Cablevision-owned paper retreated behind a pay wall.  At least Neil Best’s Tweets are still free.

That astoundingly low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.

Michael Amon, a social services reporter, asked for clarification.

“I heard you say 35 people,” he said, from Newsday’s auditorium in Melville. “Is that number correct?”

Mr. Jimenez nodded.

Of course, there are a few caveats. Anyone who has a newspaper subscription is allowed free access; anyone who has Optimum Cable, which is owned by the Dolans and Cablevision, also gets it free. Newsday representatives claim that 75 percent of Long Island either has a subscription or Optimum Cable.

“We’re the freebie newsletter that comes with your HBO,” sniffed one Newsday reporter.

Mr. Jimenez was in no mood to apologize. “That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,” said Mr. Jimenez to the assembled staff, according to five interviews with Newsday staffer.

It must come as tremendous consolation to Newsday’s staff that their work is so accessible to Long Island residents….and virtually no one else.