It’s Week 2 of The Times v. The Journal, and Robert Thomson has started it with a bang.
Mr. Thomson spoke to the Murdoch-owned The Australian and discussed regional coverage in the New York area:
“The distinction here is that we are using Journal journalists while The New York Times is out-sourcing its regional sections.
“For a paper blighted by the plague of plagiarism to risk its reputation for a few pennies is quite remarkable. They should have more faith in their own journalists — it is unusual that the tut-tutters of the American journalist establishment have not recognised the infelicities of this arrangement.”
The paper has had a few examples of plagiarism over the last seven years, but it’s a curious attack. It’s true that when the Times does a story from Jersey or Westchester, the paper does use stringers and freelancers for its metro coverage in addition to its own reporters. While there have been some moments where the ethics cops at The Times haven’t been happy with outside reporters, we can’t think of any glaring examples of bad journalism from metro stringers in the last few years.
Moreover, Mr. Thomson told us an in interview that the Journal would be using stringers for its suburban coverage itself.
“We’re setting up a stringer system,” he said, when we asked about how he would cover the region.
He said that the paper would use a core of Journal reporters who would be assigned to specific areas in the suburbs. In other words, based on his description then, it sounds similar to what The Times is doing: A mix of reporters and stringers.
But in any event, it’s another day with another attack on The Times.
“The commercial objectives are to broaden our audience in New York, in part, at the expense of The New York Times, and to widen our revenue base in the country’s most important region,” said Mr. Thomson to the Australian.