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NYT vs. WSJ: the quietest newspaper war in America

If there’s one place where print journalism is thriving, it’s the stoop outside my apartment building in Boston. I counted 12 daily newspapers tossed against the steps at dawn this morning. But a look underneath their plastic wrapping reveals a crucial trend: Among the dozen papers, just one was The Boston Globe. Six were The Wall Street Journal, and five were The New York Times.

As papers like the Globe suffer, the Journal and the Times are engaged in a pitched but unusually quiet battle for readers outside the New York metro area who might be persuaded to abandon their local dailies. In a small development on Friday, the Times announced a deal that will extend newsstand sales and home delivery of the newspaper to Nashville, Tenn. That becomes the 26th North American city where the Times is printed, and I’ve mapped them above.

Both the Times and the Journal are working to make themselves more appealing as first-read newspapers for national readers in largely affluent markets. The Times is mulling a few plans that I’m trying to pin down, while the Journal has radically shifted its news coverage and remade its front page. Alan Murray, deputy managing editor of the Journal, told me in April:

What Rupert Murdoch has done is come in and say, look, you’re missing a big opportunity….These papers in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia are very weak. We should be going in there and saying to people, you don’t need this paper. We can give you everything that you need in The Wall Street Journal.

One market to keep an eye on is San Francisco, where The Chronicle is teetering and The Los Angeles Times might as well be Le Monde. I’d expect to see interesting experiments there from national news brands.

It’s also worth considering how an insurgence of national newspapers affects their local counterparts. A fascinating study in 2005 found that when The New York Times increased its penetration in a market, college-educated readers abandoned their local newspapers. But at the same time, local newspapers upped their focus on local news and, at least back then, increased their circulation among readers without a college degree. That dynamic isn’t limited to print, but it’s certainly the battle being fought on my stoop.

                                   
What to read next
time-warner-ap
Mark Coddington    July 18, 2014
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  • http://www.newsafternewspapers.blogspot.com Martin Langeveld

    When I was a student at MIT in 1966, freshman orientation materials mentioned “the best newspaper in Boston is the New York Times,” as a preface to how you could have your personal copy of the Times delivered at your dorm. So that preference for the N.Y. press, at least in expat quarters, has been around in Boston for a while. Too bad for the Globe that Red Sox Nation doesn’t extend to newspaper loyalties.

  • Zachary M. Seward

    Ah, but Cambridge has long been a lost cause! It’s basically a suburb of New York. —Zach

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-with-dr-anne-mangen-in-norway.html Danny Bloom

    http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-with-dr-anne-mangen-in-norway.html

    I wish you would blog one day about what I am suggesting…… can you? Please? Pro and con is okay, just get a discussion going

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/interview-with-dr-anne-mangen-in-norway.html Danny Bloom

    The New York Times Doesn’t Think We Need a New Word for Reading on Screens In Order to Differentiate It From Reading On Paper, But ….
    ….BUT…..there is a spirited discussion about all this now online in hundreds of blogs and websites, and a recent interview with Dr Anne Mangen in Norway sheds more light on the issues invovled.

    conducted by reporter/blogger Danny Bloom in Taiwan (August 15, 2009)

    Anne Mangen is a reading specialst in Norway,
    and a paper she published in late 2008 in the UK on the differences
    betweem reading on paper and reading on screens has catapulted her to
    the forefront of the debate on this controverisal topic. Even the New York Times has taken notice.

    In a recent email interview, I asked Dr Mangen to go over some of the
    issues involved here. As some readers might know, I have been
    advocating that society adopt a new word for reading on screens, since
    I feel screen reading is so different from reading on paper, and I
    feel that with a new word we can study the differences better — and
    point out the differences better, too — and I have gently, quietly
    suggested the word “screening” to mean “reading text on a screen”.

  • Zachary M. Seward

    I don’t know if new terms are needed, but I think you’re absolutely right that consuming media on a screen is a totally different experience from reading a book. I’m also very much looking forward to the first “books” that mash up text, video, audio, and other media. —Zach

  • http://byjoeybaker.com Joey Baker

    I think we’re seeing the manifestation of the ‘death of print.’ Companies are realizing that print newspapers are economically unfeasible, and they’re focus on online coverage – all for the better.

    An issue will arise when people who still want the print edition are no longer able to get it. ‘Screen size’ is a factor here, but that ‘smell of ink’ that journalists describe fondly manifests itself as ‘the morning paper and coffee’ for users.

    There is still a demand for print newspapers, just much, much lower than before. It makes a lot of sense that most news organizations will eliminate print, and pave the way for a few national dailies to take over the (much smaller) market.

    Print is a luxury good.

  • http://neverneutral.wordpress.com/ EP

    I am not convinced there is a need for a new term. Reading on the screen is also reading. Reading did not start on paper. Bones and cave art were read by primitive men. Reading has (or had) more to do with sounds and visual symbols than with printed characters.

    As Berger Fischer (2003) points out, the origins of writing are related to other “cognitive scanning processes” such as “tracking, weaving, tool-making, berry gathering, face and gender recognition…” Reading is both a phonological linear process and a visual semantic process. Reading implies often synaesthesia, and that is why the term is more than perfect to describe the congnitive process we undertake in front of a gadget’s screen.

    “Legō” in Greek means “I read,” but it also means I collect, I choose, I gather, I peruse, I select, I scan, I read out, I read aloud, I recite, I unroll, I unfold, I study…

    We did not need a new term for reading when the printing press was invented. Why would we need one now?

  • http://neverneutral.wordpress.com/ EP

    I am not convinced there is a need for a new term. Reading on the screen is also reading. Reading did not start on paper. Bones and cave art were read by primitive men. Reading has (or had) more to do with sounds and visual symbols than with printed characters.

    As Berger Fischer (2003) points out, the origins of writing are related to other “cognitive scanning processes” such as “tracking, weaving, tool-making, berry gathering, face and gender recognition…” Reading is both a phonological linear process and a visual semantic process. Reading implies often synaesthesia, and that is why the term is more than perfect to describe the cognitive process we undertake in front of a gadget’s screen.

    “Legō” in Greek means “I read,” but it also means I collect, I choose, I gather, I peruse, I select, I scan, I read out, I read aloud, I recite, I unroll, I unfold, I study…

    We did not need a new term for reading when the printing press was invented. Why would we need one now?

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-bindle-vs-kindle-in-war-of-reading.html danny bloom

    Zach hi,
    I tried to reach you by email last month but i think my emails from taiwan did not get through the firewall there. Check again. SMILE

    when you said: “I don’t know if new terms are needed, but I think you’re absolutely right that consuming media on a screen is a totally different experience from reading a book.”

    Me, too, I am not sure if a new term is needed or would be useful, but I want to keep asking the question until I am convinced I am wrong. Right now, Zach, I am playing a hunch and I am getting good feedback from top scholars in the field, and also from top futurists and forecasters, such as Paul Saffo and Kevin Kelly. This story has legs. What the story needs now is a platform, and I do not have a platform, other than my lonely blog that gets three hits per year. SIGH. So, Zach, can you blog on this topic or even write about it for a magazine re: Would a new word or term for reading on screens be USEFUL (not NEEDED but USEFUL, and just posing the question not dictating the discussion’s direction) in order to spot the vast differences, both mental and emotional, from reading on paper and reading on screens, and if you agree that such a term might be USEFUL, especilly for scholars and PHDs who might study the differences even in terms of brainscans on MRI machines, in which different parts of the brain might like up when paper reading versus screen reading, then, WHAT MIGHT THAT WORD BE? ANY GOOD SUGGESTIONS FOR SUCH A WORD? and then, Zach, let the discussion begin, pro and con. That is all I want to achieve here, get a dicussion going, nationwide. Can you help jumpstart the talk there or somehwere? Thanks, Danny in Taiwan, from Tufts 1967-1971. No PHD, no MA, just the school of life.

    AND Zach, re:

    “I’m also very much looking forward to the first “books” that mash up text, video, audio, and other media. ”

    YES, this WILL be interesting. There is already a startup called VLOOK.com, have you seen it. that want to make video books, sort of. Go look. I mean, go vlook!

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-bindle-vs-kindle-in-war-of-reading.html danny bloom

    EP, on August 19, 2009, above, asks some good questions, and I don’t have the answers. But this discussion is good, EP, and that is all I am after. I am also not CONVINCED there is any NEED for a new term for reading on screens. It is my HUNCH. I am playing a hunch, a very deep hunch based on my own personal experiences and knowledge, but I am not a scientist and I have no PHD and I am admittedly not a gadgethead, but much more of a bookworm and even maybe a Luddite. I don’t even own a computer, for example, and never have, and never plan to. I go to a local email to my email chores and Google research. The email cafe is my “home office”. Strange for a writer and newspaper reporter, 60, not to own a computer or even want to own a computer, but that’s me. I live a simple life: no car, no home ownership, no retirement benefits, nothing. Just a bicycle to get around town and some money in the bank to pay for my email cafe time with the rented monitors.

    EP says: “I am not convinced there is a need for a new term. Reading on the screen is also reading.”

    DANNY replies: I agree. It’s reading. But a new kind of reading, utilizing I believe different parts of our brains. We still retrieve the information but using different pathways in the brain. That’s my hunch. That’s what i hope the scientists will study soon, using our new WORD — whatever it might be, maybe “screening”, maybe something else, I am NOT married to the word screening only, but I like it for now..

    DANNY adds to EP: It’s true, as you say, reading did not start on paper. Bones and cave art were read by primitive people. Reading has (or had) more to do with sounds and visual symbols than with printed characters. TRUE TRUE TRUE.

    EP said: “We did not need a new term for reading when the printing press was invented. Why would we need one now?”

    DANNY replies: Good question. Here’s my answer: all pre-Internet ”reading” was done on paper or wood or stone or cave surfaces, in other words flat material made from wood or stone and to read on it, one needed to look closely with one’s eyes and “take in” the words or characters using one’s intellect and emotions. There was nothing between the written or printed “text” and our human eyes. The connection was real, close, emotional. NOW, we read “through a plastic or glass screen” and there is something in between the text and our eyes and IT JUST IS NOT THE SAME THING, EP. Of course, we are still reading. Yes. But I feel, and this where my hunch comes in, and i am either a visionary or a nut, and time will tell, but I feel that this screen reading is so different in the ways our eyes (and then our brains and then our intellect and then our hearts) PROCESS this information retrieval that it CALLS OUT for a new word or term. It CALLED OUT to me, that is how I got involved in this. I didn’t hear voices, hehe, but after reading Mangen’s paper in the Journal on Research on Reading in 2008 last year, Anne Mangen, google her, she is the genius here, in Norway, PHD from a US college, after I read her paper and also the works of Jakob Nielson and William Powers Hamlet’s BlackBerry and others, one day I said to myself: Hey, maybe it might be useful to have an entirely different and new word for reading on screens, if only to better help us study and understand this new process, which is not better or worse than earlier papar reading, just different, and WAY DIFFERENT, in my opinion, and so different as to maybe perhaps call for a new word for it. What that new word might be, i have no idea. It will probably happen organically, some new word will get introduced, it will become popular, the blogs will blog it, the newspapers will use it, and a new word will be born for screen reading. I am calling this word now as “screening” for want of a better word, but I am completely open to other word choices and want to hear from people about this. I have been applauded for going out on a limb on this, and I have also been jeered. That’s okay. If I am wrong, i will admit it. If I am right, if my hunch is correct, and I am not the only one with this hunch, i have found others with the same feelings I have about this, top PHD people in fact, Kevin Kelly and Paul Saffo for example, and Marvin Minsky at the MIT Media Lab, lots of people agree with the direcetion I am going in. Let’s see how all this plays out, EP. Do keep commenting here and email me direcetly anytime at danbloom in the gmail office, you know what i mean. SMILE

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-bindle-vs-kindle-in-war-of-reading.html danny bloom

    btw, Zach, did you know

    The New York Times got punked. By a letter writer whose letter WAS published in the print edition of that paper on August 5. The writer, “Andrew Prieditis, Hamilton, New Zealand” does NOT live in Hamilton, New Zealand. He lives in Germantown, Maryland. He often writes MULTIPLE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR to multiple newspapers around the country and around the world, and he often signs his name and the city he lives in as the city where that newspaper is published. For example, if he is writing to the Dallas newspaper, he sign his name as living in Dallas, Texas. And the paper will not check or verify his name or address or residence and will publish the letter withouy any checking or verification. His letters go to over 50 newspapers worldwide. With amazing success.

    On August 5 his letter to the New York Times was published. It read:

    Biden as a liability

    Regarding the article “Biden remarks hit a nerve in Moscow” (Aug. 3, 2009): Vice President Joe Biden has proved without any doubt that he is nothing but a liability to President Obama. To put it mildly, Mr. Biden exhibits a complete lack of tact and political acumen. He has done more harm, I think, to the presidency than any other adviser.

    Andrew Prieditis, Hamilton, New Zealand

    Andrew Prieditis is his real name, I have verified that through forensic research and Google searches, but he does not live in Hamilton, New Zealand. He lives in Germantown, Maryland. He is a US citizen now. The New York Times got punked.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/opinion/06iht-edlet.html?_r=1

  • danny bloom

    here is the inside skinny on he fake letter getting through the New York Times editing process. Amazing.

    http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-york-times-get-faked-out-by-fake.html

  • danny bloom

    Zach and EP, here is the future

    CBS and Pepsi bring video ads to printed page

    By Kenneth Li in New York

    August 19 2009

    When some readers of Entertainment Weekly open their magazines next month, they will discover characters from US television programmes speaking to them from a wafer-thin video screen built into the page.

    The marketing experiment – which is being conducted by CBS, the US broadcaster, and Pepsi, the soft drinks maker – recalls the fantasy newspapers of the Harry Potter films and works much like a singing greetings card, with the video starting once a reader turns the appropriate page.

  • http://neverneutral.wordpress.com/ EP

    The Entertainment Weekly “experiment” is an interesting one indeed. I am not sure how economically viable it will be, or whether it will become the norm. Futurism is not my thing… But yeah, “augmented paper” is definitely a reality, and if it gets cheaper it might become more pervasive.

    What has not been said enough about the Entertainment Weekly ad is that it comes as an insert and will only be available in copies sent to subscribers in New York and LA (source). As far as I can tell the ad will not be in the newsstand copies.

    Until now nothing beats the economy of the print newspaper. I keep insisting on this point: it is easy to take everything’s that needed for technology to work for granted. Having lived in a country where power cuts are as common as rain in the UK, I find it hard to be over-enthusiastic about thinking that the future of news is solely digital or online.

  • http://neverneutral.wordpress.com/ EP

    (Just realized my reference up there should read “Steven Roger Fischer (2003),” not “Berger Fischer.” I also apologize for the double-posting. I obviously type faster than I think. I wish we could edit our comments! Sincere apologies!

  • danny bloom

    Hi EP again, I read your interviews about poetry on a few sites, you have a really intersting background, go go go. I appreciate your feedback here and wish you’d write to me by email at danbloom at gmail dot com. Don’t be shy. Zach, you too.

    Two things:

    1. Yes, this magazine advert is very interesting, in terms of how such a technological feat might be used in far distant future to actually make an entire book on paper use similar technology so that the reader reads the book as a real book on paper but the words can be updated, modified, edited, anytime, since the “ink” used is similar to that magazine advert “ink” — i.e., some kind of new-fangled E-Ink. By the way, I live just down the road from the E-Ink company in Taiwan that makes this E-Ink and I have an appointment soon to interview the CEO of PVI, Mr Scott Liu. Zach and EP, do you want to read what I find out?

    Danny

    Oh, i forget 2:

    2. ”Someday there will be e-books in the shape (and texture) of books.” Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it! And ask me who said that!

    3. AND ZACH, when are you gonna blog on my questionaire at zippy1300? about how people feel about reading on paper or reading on screens? Life isn’t all gadgets and trendy things. Sometimes we need to ask tough questions. Why are you ignoring me, Zach? It’s not very polite or nice.

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/screening-on-screens-versus-reading-on.html danny bloom

    Zach and EP, here are the ten questions I wish you’d take time to answer and maybe even blog on pro or con, I don’t expect you to agree with me I just want to get your reax. Okay?

    http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/screening-on-screens-versus-reading-on.html

    for my blog on ”reading versus screening” in the Internet age,

    1. Since reading on paper is very different from reading on screens,
    do you think that at some point it might be USEFUL to coin a new word in English
    for “reading on screens”, ……yes or no?

    2. If YES, …..can you suggest any possible words for this new word: maybe
    scanning? screen-reading? screening? any other words you can think of
    that might work well here, words or terms?

    3. A futurist inthe USA , a very well known person, tells me:
    “Screening” is not a new term, but this might just be the time that it
    catches on, given the imminent arrival of Apple’s iPad, and other
    devices. The last time I heard it — screening — in this way — was
    back in the late 1990s when the RocketBook and Softbook made their
    debut, but the term didn’t do any better than the products did.”

    do you agree with him that THIS might be the time SCREENING catches
    on? Yes or no or comments?

    4. This furturist told me “This time around, screening is a clever and
    useful term capturing the fact
    that the experience reading on a screen is fundamentally different
    from reading on paper. Not a priori worse or better; just different.”
    Do you agree with him here, yes or no or comments?

    5. This futurist also told me …”So definitley SCREENING is the right
    word for the moment in terms of drawing
    people’s attention to the vast literary shift about to wash over
    us….Do you agree that we are now witnessing a vast literary shift
    about to wash over us? YES NO MAYBE? COMMENTS?

    6. Is there any research yet that speaks about the way that different
    parts of the brain light up when people read on paper compared to when
    they read on a screen? Has anyone studied it this way yet? Can it be
    studied this way? Do you think it is possible that different parts of
    the brain light up when we read on paper vs reading on screens? Might
    PHD people do research on this in the future.? how could one conduct
    such research? with MRI machines? brain scans?

    7. Does reading on screens hamper or hinder our critical analysis
    skills of what we are reading?

    8. If in the future most reading is done on screens, from computers to
    iPhones to Kindles to even textbooks on screens, could this hurt the
    critical thinking skills of young people to think, analyze and asess
    information?

    9. Do you think people will be reading on paper surfaces anymore in
    the year 2050? in the year 2099?

    10. Are you willing or ready to say goodbye to MR PAPER, and greet
    the SCREEN AGE with a complete open-minded welcome?

  • http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/screening-on-screens-versus-reading-on.html danny bloom

    Later, I will tell you who that “futurist” is. He is one of the top forecasters in USA.

  • AC

    Sam Zell has driven the LA Times into the ground. First, he fired all the competent people, then set about ‘re-imagining’ the paper – with such ingenious ideas as turning the business section into a thinly disguised (lousy) clone of Variety, and eliminating other (meaningful) sections of the paper, and expanding the sections with meaningless garbage on them.

    It’s like the keystone cops of newspaper management. He also owns a local television station – which he has pretty much ruined, too.

    Zell – maybe it’s destined to become a new verb: he Zelled his business out of existence.

  • vince norton

    a 6.00 sunday edition does not help. I bought the sunday times for 25 years until this recent price increase.

  • Andy

    It’s just the evolution of business. No big deal let’s all just look the other way and hope it works out for them.

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