Revamped Sundays at New York Daily News p.16

By: Joe Strupp They're hoping to increase readership with
more entertainment, lifestyle, and opinion pages

After months of planning and hype, the New York Daily News is launching a revamped Sunday newspaper debuting March 28 that promises more entertainment, lifestyle, and opinion pages at a time when the tabloid has lost significant Sunday readership and faces looming cost increases from a union pay hike.
The paper has brought in a "raft of people" to write for the new opinion section, which will expand from two to five pages and include new columnists Mike Barnicle and Tony Kornheiser, according to new Sunday editor Ed Kosner. "We will have a whole roster of people to write for it," he says.
The changes follow several years of declining Sunday readership, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which says Sunday circulation declined from 978,000 readers in 1995 to 807,000 in 1997, before a bump up to 810,000 last year.
During the same period, the News' two major competitors, the New York Post and Newsday, saw Sunday circulation increases. The Post, which launched its Sunday paper for 25 cents in 1996 and now sells for 50 cents, reported 291,000 readers the first year, before climbing to 326,000 in 1997 and 382,000 last year.
Newsday, which charges $1.25 for its Sunday edition in Long Island and $1 in New York City, has had a slimmer circulation boost, from 650,000 readers in 1995 to 671,000 last year.
The Daily News is not expected to raise newsstand prices with the new Sunday edition. The last price hike occurred in 1996, when the Sunday paper went from $1.25 to $1.50. But that was reversed in 1997, when the newsstand charge went down to $1.
Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman made headlines last fall when he hired Kosner, whose r?sum? includes stints at Newsweek, New York magazine and Esquire, to put together the new Sunday package. Zuckerman says the new format is aimed at giving readers more useful information and should not be taken as a sign of troubled times.
The publisher already made small changes to the weekday edition on March 22 with an expanded "Today in New York" section that highlights happenings around town and a new consumer awareness column.
In addition to the expanded opinion pages, the new Sunday format will replace the previous Sunday magazine with two newsprint, tabloid-style sections called Showtime and Lifeline, Kosner says. Showtime will include entertainment and movie listings, book and restaurant reviews, and theater news, while Lifeline will focus on personal finance, computers, electronics, relationships, children, and health.
Kosner says the hiring of Barnicle, who left The Boston Globe last year following accusations of plagiarism, has brought some criticism, but not enough to make a difference. "If everyone in journalism who made a mistake did not get a second chance, none of us would be around long," Kosner says of Barnicle, who is writing his first column about a Queens church. "He has paid his dues." Kosner says Barnicle will continue to live outside Boston and travel to New York regularly to do reporting for his column.
"I think this shows they are worried and have a fight on their hands on Sunday," says Stuart Marques, Post managing editor for news. "When we launched [a Sunday edition], I don't think they thought we would stick."
A new promotional campaign is planned to announce the Sunday changes, which Kosner says will likely begin in April.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher March 27, 1999) [Caption]


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