Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 17, 2009, 2:39 p.m.

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.

POSTED     Aug. 17, 2009, 2:39 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
“Instead of asking you to come to us and be part of this massive room of people shouting over each other, you can bring us to you, and have us be, essentially, one more person in your conversation.”
The Conversation expands across the U.S., freshly funded by universities and foundations
The news site that uses academics as reporters and journalists as editors now boasts 19 paying member universities and is opening up posts in Atlanta (and maybe in the Bay Area).
A Boston public radio station is redesigning its site to make audio “a first-class citizen online”
But: “I’ve tried to be really disciplined about not calling this process just a redesign,” WBUR’s executive editor for digital Tiffany Campbell said. “We’ve built a brand new platform.”
What to read next
0
tweets
Built on passion: How Vox Media grew from its roots as an Oakland A’s blog into one of the Internet’s biggest publishers
In a Q&A, Vox Media co-founder Tyler Bleszinski reflects on his time at the company.
0A new storytelling platform hopes to move crisis reporting beyond isolated events in the news cycle
The idea of Coda Story “is to watch things unfurl at the pace of evolving trends rather than daily developments.”
0Working with young reporters, City Bureau is telling the story of police misconduct in Chicago
“Those areas, more than any part of the city, have been disenfranchised over the past 100-plus years. Even though there’s coverage there, it’s often quick, one-hit coverage — parachute journalism.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Reddit
The Seattle Times
Ushahidi
Bloomberg Businessweek
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
Time
Frontline
Flipboard
BBC News
Mozilla
Press+
GateHouse Media