John Seeley, the editor of The Wall Street Journal's soon-to-arrive New York section, has hired another former New York Sun talent to join his team. Pia Catton was the culture editor at the now-defunct daily, and went on to be a features editor at Politico. It's a score for the Journal, but we couldn't help but notice a tinge of vengefulness in their press release on Friday. This bit, for example:
"Pia is the leading arts and culture reporter of her generation in New York and beyond," said Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal and editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company. "We are delighted to have upgraded the team and hired a great journalist who has long been at the top of our wish list."
"Upgraded?" Clearly the defection of arts reporter Kate Taylor from the WSJ New York bureau to the Times that same week left a bit of a sour taste in someone's mouth.
Today Times in-house media writer Richard Pérez-Peña tells us what he knows about the coming $30 million Journal section:
The new daily section, to start on April 12, will average 12 pages and be included only in those copies distributed in the New York market. According to journalists at the paper, there will be a daily real estate page, and separate daily segments devoted to culture, business and particularly sports. Reporters will also cover traditional metro news, including government, but insiders say the section will be selective in its approach to such topics.
That the aim here is to wound the Times more than it is to make a wholly profitable project, according to people at the Journal, is hardly a secret. Journal owner Rupert Murdoch is hoping to lure luxury advertisers, who covet the Times' upscale readership even though on weekdays the Journal outsells it nearly two to one, away from his longtime rival. Even in Pérez-Peña's article, the Times comes off as defiant, quoting experts who scoff at the seeming folly of the Journal's latest effort, and revealing the news that the finance paper lost $80 million in the last full fiscal year while the New York Times Company earned $21 million in operating profit.
"When you count our powerful Metro staff along with the reporters assigned to New York culture, sports, real estate, dining and business, we have an overwhelming advantage in talent, experience and space," boasted Times executive editor Bill Keller, conceding that still, in the face of this new competition, he would be "adding new weekend-oriented features to the Thursday and Friday papers."