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Benedict Goodstein: Tabloid Warrior

Now the ad war begins.

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The snipe-opera that heralded the news that the Post had finally, after bleeding tens of millions of dollars, eked out a tiny circulation lead over the Daily News will die down as the curtain rises on the next act. The action will center on a battle for advertising, and its anti-hero is named Les Goodstein. He was president of the News until last year, when he switched sides to Rupert Murdoch’s Post. “Being in the newspaper business for 30 years, I could see who was going to win this tabloid war,” Goodstein says. “It’s like I tell my kid. You have to know how to compete.” The Post has about half the ad revenue of the News. Goodstein’s job is to woo clients like Macy’s from his old paper: Even before the circ win, ads were up 5 percent. (The News was slightly down.) Goodstein’s replacement, Marc Kramer, notes that the Post costs only a quarter and has little circulation in the outer boroughs. Murdoch recently purchased two chains of outer-borough weeklies. Kramer says, “They’re copying us!” Except that the Post has no plans to charge 50 cents any time soon.

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