Epicenter: Journal v. Times is ‘First Great Battle of the Online News Age’

Wired.com’s Epicenter has an interesting take on the Wall Street Journal / New York Times local-news-coverage smackdown going on in the Big Apple these days.

“Some are calling this the ‘last great newspaper war,’ and it very well may be,” writes Eliot Van Buskirk. But in the grand scheme of things, this is the first great battle of the online news age—a war of economic attrition and brand awareness in the growing mobile internet space&#151and that is far more significant than which paper New Yorkers read on Sundays or during the evening commute.”

Sure, New Yorkers still read print editions of newspapers, and their collective household income and luxury-buying patterns make the attractive to local advertisers, van Buskirk writes. But the future still lies online, as evidenced by recently figures citing ongoing declines in print circulation.

“Both the well-established and the newer publication will face tougher competition in the digital space, from essentially every other publication in the world—not just the ones that cover New York ‘north of Wall Street,'” van Buskirk says. “So, these publications’ motivation for trying to build up a war chest (or to pick away at the other guy’s) becomes clear.”