Goodbye, Cruel World (Business)

New York Times readers will now have to look elsewhere for the latest on coffee production in Rwanda, copper strikes in Chile, or stories with headlines like "A Struggle Over Air Routes in East Asia"—the paper has folded its World Business section into Business Day. The Times' stock tables have been simplified and tossed in the main business section as well.

Catherine Mathis, a Times spokeswoman, says the move will save the paper about 14 pages a week. She wouldn't comment on how much money the Times will save, but the Voice estimates the savings on newsprint at about $2 million a year.

Yes, but at what cost? Getting to the World Business section was truly a mark of accomplishment. When you hit that first story about industrial output in Thailand or unemployment benefits in Germany, you knew you were either a) really doing your homework or b) trapped in a subway car between stations on the morning commute. In either case, the reader of World Business felt, well, worldly—proud to slap Section W on the lunch counter and order not just any salad, but a Greek salad ... with French dressing, merci very mucho!

Even as the Times is saying auf Wiedersehen to the World Business section, it's saying hello to Metro Boston, the free daily tabloid produced by the same firm that does Metro New York and other Metros in 17 countries around the world. The Times is acquiring a 49 percent stake in Metro Boston, with its readership of 300,000 and $10 million in revenue last year—for $16.5 million.

But since the Times already owns the Boston Globe, the rival Boston Herald is crying foul. The Herald reports that publisher Patrick J. Purcell "intends to contest the deal on the grounds that it would give the Globe, the largest newspaper in Eastern Massachusetts, too much media concentration in a single market. He said the deal does not meet Justice Department standards."

In a statement announcing the deal, Globe publisher Richard Gilman said, "Metro Boston is a natural complement to The Globe's strong readership base and advertising position. With this partnership, we will add to the unmatched reach and impact that we provide to advertisers in the Boston market."

The statement adds that between the Globe and Metro, "Duplication among readers is limited, making the partnership strategic for both entities and providing enhanced efficiency for advertisers." It also notes, "Metro's editorial format will not change as a result of this transaction, and the Globe newsroom will not be involved in the editing of the paper."

 


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