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04.27.10

Newspaper Wars: The Times vs. The Journal, Day 2

In the second day of competition, The New York Times bounced back after its loss to the debut edition of The Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section. Harold Evans weighs in on the battle for the Big Apple.

In the second day of competition, The New York Times bounced back after its loss to the debut edition of The Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section. Harold Evans weighs in on the battle for the Big Apple. Plus, read his scoring of Day 1.

On Tuesday, The New York Times woke up to the challenge on its home ground from The Wall Street Journal’s special section, Greater New York. It scored with a page one scoop on how a safety inspector had certified more than 200 buildings free from asbestos or lead contamination when he hadn’t even visited them. He had faked his reports. Against this stunner, the Journal had a strong story on officials at Mount Sinai Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital being accused of rigging bids, and three companies accused of bid-rigging, mail fraud, and tax fraud in hospital contracts.

My detailed scoring, against 10:

NEWS
WSJ: 4
NYT: 8

The WSJ is down to six pages today, more or less the same in space as the NYT. In addition to its scoop on the scandal of faked reports, the Times had a thorough report on why Mayor Bloomberg’s Willets Point project in Queens is not going anywhere fast.

ORGANIZATION
WSJ: 8
NYT: 3

You have to hunt through the Times for the New York pages—very frustrating. There is not even a pointer on page one as to where you’ll find them inside. And the run of NYT pages disconcertingly leapfrogs over the op-ed pages and ends up on the back. The separate section for the Journal is well-flagged.

WIDTH OF APPEAL
WSJ: 4
NYT: 8

A much better performance from the NYT. Three readable features—columnist Clyde Haberman takes Comedy Central apart on its cowardice in censoring South Park after a fringe radical group called Revolution Muslim threatened the creators with death on the grounds that the Prophet Muhammad had been insulted. Haberman asks: Why aren’t death threats prosecuted? And he answers the question. Its “Big City” columnist Susan Dominus examines the addiction you can see all around you—the addiction to text messaging. Plus another well-displayed feature on how the New York Police Foundation benefits from inviting celebrities to get a taste of the toughness of police work by joining officers on patrol.

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Harold Evans, author of two histories of America, just published his memoir, My Paper Chase. Editor at large of The Week, he was editor of The Sunday Times from 1967-81 and The Times from 1981-82, founding editor of Condé Nast Traveler, and president of Random House Trade Group from 1990-97.