By virtue of our job we tend to consume more media than most folks we know; by virtue of being old we tend to consume more of that media in print form. Our mornings generally consist of waking up at an ungodly hour and reading the Times, then walking to the train station, where we buy a copy of the Post, wait for the 6, and head down to the office. We generally pick the Post over the News for two reasons: It's only a quarter, and it's quick enough that we've finished it by the time we hit SoHo. So the recent announcement that the Post was going to hike its cost back to 50 cents gave us pause: Would we still pick up the paper at that price point? Then we recalled an incident that happened a few weeks ago.
It was still dark, and the guy out front of the station seemed a little more out of it than usual. He handed us our Post, told us to have a good day, and went back to unbundling his papers. We got on the train and started to flip through the thing. "Wow," we thought, "the paper is really off its game today." It wasn't until we hit the gossip section that we realized the guy had given us the News instead.
And there you have it. Love it or hate it, the Post is a paper that knows what it is. Short, snappy headlines full of silly alliteration and bizarre air quotes, nudge-nudge leads, quick stories that invariably try to spin NewsCorp's right-wing ideology into the text; it's all there, and comforting in its own way. The News, on the other hand, lacks a definable character and any kind of editorial consistency. Which is sort of something, or in fact, all of everything, that you want from a tabloid.
We're not sure how the papers will stack up now that people can't tell themselves it's okay to read the Post because "it's only a 25 cents," but we'll be interested to see how the papers stack up when their circulation is judged on the merits. As for us, we may just migrate to the freesheets. We need those quarters for laundry. Now to figure out which we like more, A.M. New York or Metro.