I’ve been amused over the years with the rise to prominence of the NY Post vis-a-vis the other major local New York newspaper, the NY Daily News. I used to joke with friends that the main difference between the ‘Post’ and the ‘News’ was mainly that the Post had more color pictures, and sexy photos , largely due to its celeb-devoted ‘Page 6’ gossip section.
At the time – say, 2002 – the Post was regarded as the more ‘fun’ tabloid to buy, while the ‘News’ was taken a bit more seriously. Many New Yorkers would thus buy both, The ‘Post’ for the color pictures, the Daily News for actual articles. This fact was reflected in the prices of the two rags: 25 cents for the Post, 50 cents for the News.
Over the years, however, as newspapers across the country struggled with declining sales – due to online consumption and tv – the prices of the two papers rose incrementally, and the two papers had a pricing war of sorts to increase readership:
June 21, 2011
“….The New York Post is raising its newsstand price to 75 cents beginning Monday, according to sources at the newspaper. In 2006, the Post circulation climbed to slightly more than the rival New York Daily News after it cut its rate to 25 cents in 2000.
Emboldened by its thin edge over the competition, the paper increased its rate again to 50 cents and quickly lost readers.
It is currently ranked as the eighth-largest newspaper in the U.S. with a circulation rate of 522,878, according to BurrellesLuce.
The Post, which was bought by Murdoch in 1993, reportedly loses tens of millions of dollars every year.”
June 15, 2012
The New York Post Will Now Cost $1
You think those headlines come cheap? Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post is raising its newsstand price a quarter, just like it did a year ago, meaning the splashy tabloid will now run you $1 on weekdays, beginning Monday. Saturday editions will cost $1.25 and Sunday copies are going up to $1.50. When the Post jumped from 25 cents to 50 cents in 2006, the rival Daily News dropped their price and grabbed some readers, so if they’re ever going to reignite the largely dormant tabloid war, now’s a great time.
One question on the minds of many a New Yorker as the Post continued to become more expensive was this: how on Earth can the (trashy, sensationalist, seedy) NY Post justify raising the price of their rag so often? The first line in this short piece from Mr Coscarelli provides clues to the answers: the headlines.
Or ,rather the Front Cover.
I have long felt that it was largely those splashy (as Mr. Coscarelli puts it ) headlines and Front Pages of the Post were its claim-to-fame, the main reason one might choose the Post over the Daily News when glancing at the two papers on the newsstand racks. In fact, the nypost.com homepage has a clearly visible section where one can view the archives of front and back covers of the tabloid. The NY Daily News does not.
That tells you a lot about the difference in philosophy of the two tabloids: sensationalism (NY Post) and Sobriety (NY Daily News). Here is a look at the ‘Post’s’ covers from the past 7 days, including today’s cover:
And there you have it. It isn’t really necessary to go into a whole lot of detailed analysis of the ‘Post’s’ approach to journalism; they know what people want to read.
Or, better yet, the Editors at the ‘Post’ know what will catch people’s attention. And, as the covers above show, it don’t really take much to draw eyeballs when you’re in the business of infotainment, and you know it. For me, that explains the logic of the Post’s continuous rise in price. The paper is becoming more popular , outshining the ‘Daily News’ in the area that counts most for tabloid style publications: the cover.
Which is to say, the jig is up, the charade is over. The notion that there is some sort of ‘4th estate’ that people should care about – responsible journalism – has given way over time to what is shown above: splashiness. The NY Post – despite the fact that it does not make any money whatsoever for parent company News Corp. – has risen to the top spot among local tabloids by virtue of aligning itself fully with the ‘attention ethos’, which says that what’s inside the paper will only matter if what is outside can grab one’s attention. If the cover is boring (hello, NY Daily News) ,then the paper will be ignored, sober journalism be damned. Unless, of course, you’re the New York Times………