The Wall Street Journal has launched its “Greater New York” section, striking its first blow against The New York Times in a newspaper war that should prove an enjoyable spectacle for media onlookers. The two papers’ approaches to metro news contrast sharply; it remains to be seen which will resonate more with readers.
The Journal‘s section brings a heavy dose of gabby human-interest stories. Although there are a few items that could foreshadow inroads into the Times‘ vaunted New York investigative coverage, “fun” pieces like “Rats Mob the Upper East Side,” “Swipe It, Swipe It Good” (“It” being a MetroCard), “Pasta Power Play Hits City” and “Salt Assault Gets Allies” outnumber harder works like “Police Let Terrorist Slip Through,” “State Weighs Emergency Borrowing” and “Killings Stir Harlem Fears.” Combined with the space devoted to advertisements, local real estate, sports and gossip (that last on a dedicated “Heard & Scene” page), the section’s overall effect is one of a hybrid between a broadsheet and a tabloid. Based on the first day’s offerings, it’s hard to imagine the Journal could — or would even want to — deliver a game-changing story like the Times‘ David Paterson coverage, for example.
The Times, meanwhile, looks much the same as it ever did. Even its subway coverage goes ultra-granular, as seen in today’s stop-by-stop breakdown of MTA ridership. Other top stories include a look at New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie’s fight with teachers’ unions and a study showing young New Yorkers make a lot of money. The paper did not offer any coverage today of the Upper East Side’s rat situation, and the news-to-ads ratio is much higher.
So far, the differences between the two papers’ approaches to the New York beat are palpable both in terms of tone and content selection. We’ll have to wait to see whether the Journal‘s take lures readers away from the Times.
But don’t take our word for it. After the jump, tables of contents for both The Wall Street Journal‘s and The New York Times‘ metro coverage.
Table of Contents for The Wall Street Journal‘s ‘Greater New York’ Section:
• “Police Let Terrorist Slip Through,” by Sean Gardiner
• “State Weighs Emergency Borrowing,” by Jason Gershman
• “Rats Mob the Upper East Side,” by Andrew Grossman
• “Angels Slide Past Yankees, Handing Bombers First Series Loss of Season“
• “Fifth Avenue Gem Is Back on Block,” by Lingling Wei
A22 (City News):
• “Swipe It, Swipe It Good,” a how-to guide for swiping one’s MetroCard, by Ralph Gardner, Jr.
• “Aureole,” a “Lunchbox” item by Melanie Garayce West
• “State Leaders Weigh Emergency Borrowing” (from A21)
A23 (City News):
• “Killings Stir Harlem Fears” by Joel Stonington
• “Brooklyn School Tapped for Math Program” by Barbara Martinez
• “Blotter: Three-Year-Old Unharmed After Wandering Streets” by Joel Stonington
• “Blotter: Unidentified Body Found in Water Under Bridge” by Joel Stonington
A24 (City News):
• “Pasta Power Play Hits City” by Sumathi Reddy
• “Salt Assault Gets Allies” by Michael Howard Saul and Ilan Brat
• “Mayor Shoots for Peace” by Devlin Barrett
• “Regional Watch: Cellphone Service Planned for Grand Central Terminal” by Andrew Grossman
• “Regional Watch: MTA Weighs Cameras in Bus-Only Lanes” by Andrew Grossman
• “Regional Watch: Cub Loses Way, Finds College Campus” by Joel Stonington
• Macy’s ad!
A26 (City News):
• “The Ultimate Walk-In Closet: Christie’s Offers Art Storage in Brooklyn” by Kelly Crow
• “City Drives Car-Share Plan” by Michael Howard Saul
• “Army of Rats Swarms Upper East Side” (continued from A21)
• Delta Airlines ad!
A28 [no title, but is a real-estate page]: