Turns out it’s not just Rupert Murdoch who’s interested in buying Newsday; Mort Zuckerman, the real-estate magnate who owns the Daily News, and James Dolan, whose family owns Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks, are making bids as well. In what the Times describes as a “soft auction,” banks are approaching potential buyers on behalf of the struggling Tribune Company (and owner Sam Zell). Murdoch, apparently, wants to join up operations with News Corp.’s New York Post, a tabloid of a similar, if more rapacious, type. Zuckerman is said to be considering a similar deal.
A newspaper analyst estimates that the paper is worth something in the range of $400 million and is probably a lucrative venture, based on its Long Island circulation base. Considering how well Zuckerman and Murdoch know the newspaper business (nobody knows it better than Rupert, sure, but the Post is a routine money loser and the News is profitable), it’s hard to imagine that Dolan would come out on top in this bidding war. Plus, the competitive edge it would give in New York’s tabloid war is incalculable — which means the two print giants have more at stake.
We’ve always liked Newsday. Their reporting is expert, clever, and sober. It also indulges in less tabloid shock appeal and use of outrageous puns. They sometimes write in lowercase letters, even. We worry a little about what it would become in the hands of the News or Post brass. Do New Yorkers really need more tabloid covers with cop funerals on them? Or hero strippers? Your parents live on Long Island, for Pete’s sake.