Murdoch challenges Times with NY edition of Wall Street Journal
News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch threw down the gauntlet to The New York Times on Tuesday, announcing plans to launch a New York edition of The Wall Street Journal next month.
Murdoch, in a speech to the Real Estate Board of New York, did not mention The New York Times by name but he was clearly referring to the newspaper which has long dominated the city.
“We believe that in its pursuit of journalism prizes and a national reputation, a certain other New York daily has essentially stopped covering the city the way it once did,” Murdoch said.
“In so doing, they have mistakenly overlooked the most fascinating city in the world — and left the interests and concerns of people like you far behind them,” the News Corp. chairman and chief executive said.
“I promise you this: The Wall Street Journal will not make that mistake,” Murdoch said.
Murdoch, who also owns the tabloid New York Post, said he could not reveal more details about the venture but “I can tell you that the new section will be full color — and it will be feisty.
“It will cover everything that makes New York great: state politics, local politics, business, culture, and sports.”
Murdoch noted that the expansion comes as other US newspapers, suffering from a severe decline in print advertising revenue, are cutting staff.
“I challenge you to find a story about newspapers today that isn’t about reducing coverage, laying off reporters, or cutting back on delivery services,” he said.
“When you open up a paper today, the most depressing news is often about newspapers themselves,” he said. “Here in New York, we’re doing just the opposite.
“We’re adding a whole new section and taking on reporters and editors.”
Murdoch also repeated previous criticisms of newspapers for not charging readers of their websites.
The Wall Street Journal is one of the few US newspapers charging readers for full access to its website and Murdoch has announced plans to eventually make readers pay for online access to all of the newspapers in his stable.
“All across America, city newspapers are cutting back on coverage,” he said. “Then these same newspapers set up websites where they give away their most valuable commodity — content — for free.
“That’s no way to do business.”
“People tell me you can’t charge for news,” he said. “I think they are making the same mistake some make with cities, confusing costs for value.
“It’s true that people will not pay for mediocre reporting — or for reporting that speaks to the pet causes of an editor rather than the most pressing interests and concerns of the readers.
“News is like anything you want to sell: if you want people to buy it, you have to give them something they value,” Murdoch said.