Rupert Murdoch has wanted to throttle the gasping corpse of the New York Times ever since the day he overpaid for the Wall Street Journal. This is his passion. His first solid step is his previously announced New York local news hires at the WSJ. Today, John Koblin reports that he's not just grabbing a dozen reporters to put out a metro section; he is, in effect, building a competing local paper—complete with three dozen reporters, a $15 million budget, and a boatload of New York Sun veterans.
There are plans for a daily stand-alone New York section, an Albany bureau, a City Hall bureau, a crime beat, a sports section and a culture section-in other words, a new, full-fledged New York paper, and one, incidentally, that is looking increasingly like the now defunct New York Sun.
Koblin even quotes one source as saying that the WSJ thinks that they can bolster their arts coverage and "They figured if they replicated the Sun model they could beat The Times completely."
Well. The Sun's art coverage was its best asset. But maybe its only asset. This will be a war of attrition rather than a free-spending battle of equals. If Rupert keeps pouring money into the WSJ as the Times keeps cutting its newsroom, they could very well meet in the middle soon. Whether either of them can make money doing it is a different issue.