NEWSDAY MOVES CLOSER TO NYC FRONT LINES

By: Joe Strupp

But Publisher Denies New York Newsday Revival


The more Long Island-based Newsday shows signs of bringing
back New York Newsday, the more its top executives deny
anything of the sort. Still, recent moves by the Tribune Co.-
owned daily – from the hiring of two veteran New York City
editors to expansion of the paper’s coverage of the police in
Manhattan – have heightened speculation that Newsday
is loading up for another shot at a city edition.

“They’re moving troops to the border for an eventual assault on
New York City,” said Don Forst, The Village Voice editor
in chief who served as New York Newsday editor during its
run from 1985 to 1995. “It seems to me that they are gearing up
to move into New York with a New York City paper that covers it
all.”

Recent signs of an increased city focus and possible expansion
across the five boroughs include:

o The hiring last week of John Mancini, a veteran New York
Post metro editor and former New York Newsday news
editor, who will become metro editor for the Newsday
Queens edition.
o The hiring two weeks ago of Debby Krenek, the former New York
Daily News editor in chief who has become associate editor
of special projects and is involved with improving
Newsday’s Queens Web site.
o The creation of a new senior projects editor position in the
Queens bureau.
o A staff increase, from three reporters to four, at the paper’s
New York police bureau in Manhattan, which matches the level of
city police coverage the paper had when New York Newsday
was publishing.
o A content-sharing plan announced two weeks ago between
Newsday and WPIX Channel 11, which are both owned by the
Chicago-based Tribune Co., that will give Newsday more of
a city presence.

Newsday managers, however, deny any plans to revive New
York Newsday, which was killed in a cost-cutting move by the
Times Mirror Co., the paper’s previous owner. But editors admit
they are beefing up coverage of citywide stories to boost
Newsday’s Queens readership. “We intend to be competing on
the biggest stories in the city,” said Managing Editor Charlotte
Hall. “We believe we are the best paper for the people of Queens,
and that means giving them the best citywide coverage.”

The latest Newsday hirings come at a time when New York is
seeing a major escalation of its tabloid newspaper battle with
the New York Post cutting its single-copy price from 50
cents to 25 cents last fall and the Daily News launching
Daily News Express – a free afternoon commuter paper
now distributing 90,000 copies.

Newsday first made noise about a city-based expansion last
August when it announced plans to boost staffing in Queens by 30%
over 12 months with 10 new reporters. The Queens bureau reporting
staff has grown from 11 in 1996 to 24 in 2000, according to
Editor Anthony Marro. “We’re taking it one step at a time,” he
said last week. “We will keep growing.”

But Newsday Publisher Ray Jansen said the paper’s city
focus remains on Queens only. “There is no chance of New York
Newsday coming back,” he told E&P. “It is not going to
happen.”

Some local newspaper observers, such as Brooklyn College
journalism professor Anthony Mancini (no relation to John
Mancini), said they believe Jansen’s assertion that another
New York Newsday is unlikely. “It’s already too crowded in
New York,” said Mancini, a former New York Post reporter.
“There are not enough readers to go around.”

But others, such as Forst, said the Tribune Co. – which also
owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times
– may want a New York presence to help create a three-city
national advertising package. “Clearly, they want New York City,”
he said. Tribune Co. officials declined to comment.

Daily News President Les Goodstein hinted that
Newsday’s expansion may require his paper to increase
coverage in certain areas: “We may look to put more resources
into local news, but that is it.”

Circulationwise, the Daily News is the strongest of the
three tabs, with a daily circulation of 704,463. Newsday’s
circulation is 576,345, and the Post’s is 443,951. In
Queens, Newsday’s circulation is 103,923, and the
Post’s is 50,063. Daily News executives would not
release its circulation figures for the borough.



Joe Strupp (jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor for E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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