By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The gap between the NY Times and the WashPost continues to widen

Two consecutive headlines in Nieman Lab’s daily newsletter Tuesday drove home the growing gap between The New York Times and The Washington Post. The first: “The Washington Post is reducing its workforce by 240 positions.” The second: “The New York Times opinion section has tripled its size since 2017.”

I’ve written about this before, including a suggestion I made last year that the Post should reconnect with local news. As someone who covered the early years of the Post’s revival under Jeff Bezos, I find the current situation sad. Both the Post and the Times flourished during the Trump presidency, but the Times has continued to soar in the post-Trump years (yes, I know we’re not really in the post-Trump years) while the Post has sputtered, losing money and circulation.

We need two great general-interest national newspapers. If the Post is going to get back in the race, it needs to find a way to differentiate itself from the Times. For a few years, the Post difference was a tougher, more truth-telling brand of political coverage, but these days both papers seem pretty much the same. I don’t blame Sally Buzbee, who succeeded the legendary Marty Baron as executive editor. The vision — and the resources — have to come from the very top.

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5 Comments

  1. pauljbass

    I find the Wall Street Journal a better companion read to the NYT. Fairer, clearer, tighter (and far less comprehensive) coverage, interesting alternative opinion approach. I know they too have challenges. But the WashPo never seemed to have that distinct identity to me — just a continual firehouse of eyeball-oriented copy that feels like Amazon

    • dkennedy56

      I agree completely, but the WSJ isn’t a general-interest paper.

  2. John Driscoll

    I live

    • John Driscoll

      (Sorry, last comment got cut off). I live in Washington DC and get both the Post and the Times. The Post’s coverage of local news, especially the arts, has deteriorated with its national focus. Their main theater and classical music critics spend about half of their time covering New York productions. Many smaller ensembles are now no longer reviewed at all. Other local news is largely in a pretty short Metro section, which is very suburban focused. I find local blogs or the Washington City Paper do a better job. As you and others have said, the political coverage seems similar to that of the Times. If they shift more from local to national coverage, I’ll have even fewer reasons to subscribe,

  3. Lex

    Dan, if you’re not assigning at least some of the blame to Sally Buzbee, you’re in the minority, I think.

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