Journal Strategy Depends on Readers Still Looking at NYTimes.com

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Times executive editor Bill Keller, left; Robert Thomson, right. Photo: Patrick McMullan

For a long time we thought that, since the Journal's impending New York section couldn't possibly compete with the Times' breadth of city coverage (purely based on resources), the Journal's strategy was to supply just enough metro news that readers felt comfortable giving up the Times. After all, the reported goal of the New York section is to slay the Gray Lady. But according to Journal managing editor Robert Thomson, that's not quite the case (at least not yet). From a lengthy interview in today's Observer:

“My advice to New York Times readers is cancel your subscription, read it on the Web for free and buy The Journal,” Mr. Thomson said. “You’ll be impressed by how the coverage broadened out, even if you aren’t a businessperson. There’s a great opportunity for New Yorkers to sample The Times for free, and for less money than a Times subscription, you’ll get The Journal for six days.”


So ... the Journal wants to use the Times to beat them? This strategy will be fouled up when the Times erects a metered pay wall, but presumably it's only a temporary plan. It's pretty hard to believe that any long-term plan from Rupert Murdoch's henchmen hinges upon people continuing to read the Times, on any platform.

Battle of the Barons! [NYO]