Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has launched the opening salvo in what may be an old-fashioned newspaper war here in New York. News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal today published its first edition of The Journal's Greater New York section that is being included in papers distributed in metro New York.
The 16-page section had some good articles. It also has a 2-page sports section that focused on New York teams, with no non-New York sports coverage. Also included is a 2-page arts & entertainment section, and a sort-of celebrity page it calls "Heard & Scene."
The first half of the section is a strange conglomeration of hard news, crime news and soft news like a half-page story on Christie's Brooklyn art storage facility and a lengthy story under the headline "Rats Mob the Upper East Side." A "Blotter" section has two brief items about a 3-year old found unharmed after wandering around Jersey City alone late at night and another about an unidentified body found in thewater in Queens. Another section of local filler under the heading "Regional Watch" includes brief items on cell service coming to Grand Central, plans to test cameras to enforce bus-only lanes on Lexington and Third Avenues, and news of a bear cub sighting at a college in Rockland County. A strange selection, indeed, and not very Journal-like.It will be interesting to see what they do with this over the next several weeks, as they'll no doubt adjust to reader feedback.
If this is it, I honestly don't see The Journal's New York section as a serious contender to steal away New York Times readers. Possibly for visitors to New York who might normally pick up The Journal, readuing this new section may make them think they could save $2 on The Times because they've read the New York news. But for New Yorkers who want to know what's happening here, I think they'll still pick up The Times, Daily News or News Corp.'s other New York paper, The New York Post.
The New York Times didn't let the event go unnoticed. In a memo published in its pages today, it offers some tongue-in-cheek advice to The Journal editors. From the memo: "So as our welcome gift to New York, we pass on a few helpful hints to our Journal
colleagues: the Dodgers now play in Los Angeles. SoHo is the acronym
for South of Houston. Fashion Week has moved to Lincoln Center.
Idlewild is now JFK, and “Cats” is no longer playing on Broadway."
Any other first impressions? Let us know below.