April 18, 2010

NYT vs. WaPo vs. WSJ

Update 4/18/10
In the most rewarding Sunday reading of the year, the big three pleased in unique ways.

The Wall Street Journal felt more newsy than normal. They also delivered -- finally -- on their often over-touted Weekend Journal and Journal Report materials. Those sections always throw around big illustrations but rarely the depth I'd like. But the essay on states breaking into new states and their collection of analytical stories about the future of eco-minded development were superb and accessible.

One Journal fault: they again trotted out a rather pandering "quirky" feature in the lauded A1 Feature position. I'm piecing together evidence on the topic for a standalone post.

The Times did everything well, but delivered a somewhat less enticing A1 than usual. Notable exception being the Mexican drug war story. I can't get enough of the topic, but that said, this particular story felt richer than many. It had the statistics and hard news, but it also managed to stay relatively "local" in feel, thereby refraining from "over context" or adding too much unnecessary and obvious gravity to the situation.

Just a quick glance shows how they delivered good stories across the paper:
:: Ruth's field
:: Film violence
:: Modern love
:: Books essay
:: Public toilets
The Post, although a distant third place this week, nonetheless revealed a couple things I think it does really well (in addition to being excellent. Obviously). First, it put a "pure pleasure" read on A1. This story about the Skilcraft pen. And they delivered a politics story with great on-the-scene details and broader context in "Florida freefall." The Times has recently knocked home run political stories on Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel.

The Post probably suffered from batting last today.

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Update 3/28/10

I've decided to introduce The Wall Street Journal into the game, in part because of a stellar weekend edition that grabbed me today. I also wasn't able to pick up a Washington Post. I read the Post a day later.

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Thanks to the TNV circulation crew, we're now delivering the Washington Post alongside our MG papers. And thanks to the Garners, I'm receiving this year's Sunday editions of the New York Times!

So I'm reading a lot. ... The Atlantic and Columbia Journalism Review too ...

In thinking of what else to do with the gift of the Times, I think I'll be saving the best layouts and headlines and stories for future manipulation into handmade books. And having just read a cool CJR story about one woman's measurement of how much time she spends reading the Times, WaPo, and WSJ each day and an Atlantic story about why news stories are too long these days, I have one other ongoing blogging idea:

I'm going to pit the WaPo against the Times each Sunday. My inkling is that the Times will win easily, but today's WaPo delivered some extremely strong A1 stories that spurred me to give them the nod over the longer, but less exciting Times.

DateWinnerReason Picks
2/21Times n/a n/a
2/28WaPo sharp A1 FBI and drones; Times ditch-senior-year story
3/7Times landslide basketballs, Axelrod
3/14 Times
A1; lively
Frumin, drug killings, femivores; WaPo FOX
3/21 -draw-
WaPo's A1 vs. Times misc.
Panetta; Times Greenberg baseball story
3/28 WSJ
Strong WSJ A1
WSJ: Divided by kindness; Times was so-so
4/4Timeshonestly, the sports section
tit-for-tat coverage ... Chavez ... gangs
Post & Times
Poles vs. 'Old Man Crew'
Journal & Times
Hasids v. Hipsters, states, fleeing violence

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