Mrowr! Times Cracks on Post's "Second Read" Status, Dingy Newsroom

Turnabout is fair play, we suppose, and to be expected in our increasingly contentious local media environment. For years the New York Post has cracked on the New York Times with a fanciful "Pinch-o-meter" measuring the Good Grey Lady's level of decrepitude, and stories like "$1.3B DEBT RATTLE" and "The New York Times' Killer-Vet Lie." Today, in its traditional, strenuously restrained way, the Times returns the favor:

"Sober Mood at New York Post as Circulation Spirals Lower," reads the Times headline. "Nearly every paper in America has lost circulation," concedes the Times, "but The Post more than most." The silkiness of the tone may owe to the latest ABC circulation figures, which showed the Times was one of the papers that lost less circ than the Post. "The slide accelerated after The Post's price returned to 50 cents last year," adds the Times, which has raised its cover price twice in a year.

In analysis, the Times finds that cheeky web sites "compete with The Post's influential Page Six for gossip," and the paper has become " a 'second read' for many people, a discretionary purchase on the way to or from work, easily skipped when money is tight." How the lads in the composing room must have tittered at that.

They also find "several colleagues and people who have recently left" the Post who "spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of angering Mr. [Col] Allan and Mr. [Rupert] Murdoch." Those left behind "have reason to wonder about their future." One allows that "The Post doesn't pay that well." Also, "The Post's dingy quarters a few floors away need renovation."

After publication, Times editors reportedly loosened their ties and celebrated with bottled water served with two olives. (Graham Rayman examined the troubles of all New York dailies in September.)


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