Shooting Blanks: <em>Daily News</em> Gun Control Cover Can’t Beat Punny <em>Post</em>

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This morning, The New York Post gave the news that Anthony Weiner is contemplating a political comeback a pun-filled cover treatment.

Meanwhile, the Daily News devoted its front page to their ongoing coverage (some may call advocacy) of the gun control debate.

On a day when every tabloids’ favorite congressman is back in the spotlight, the Daily News‘s front page seems an odd choice. In a two-tabloid town, how, we wondered, has this impacted sales of the News?

In a highly unscientific survey, we canvassed 15 newsstands in the vicinity of the Observer‘s midtown office. Of the vendors we talked to, eight said that The Post outsells the News, two said that News sells better and the remaining five said that they were neck-and-neck.

There is no doubt that the News has turned the call for stricter gun control laws into a front-page crusade. While gun control coverage may be admirable, more admirable still may be the News‘ willpower in resisting an easy Weiner pun on the front page (also called, yep, “the wood” in newsroom parlance.)

“All for Nothing,” blares today’s News wood, in all caps. “Congress sells out with soft gun deal,” says the subhead. Thumbnails of eight recent News covers advocating for gun control flank the text. The Weiner profile, which was from a cover story that The New York Times Magazine posted yesterday, was hidden on page eight in the News

“Black people buy the News, Jews buy The Post,” a newspaper vendor on 44th and 9th told us, flipping to the editorial section of the latter. “Now you know the secret.” He declined to give his name or speculate on whether the covers have had any impact on sales.

Mostly, we found that The Post does better (at least in midtown) but that a few vendors said that the News has been selling better since The Post increased its cover price to a dollar last summer. The News still costs seventy-five cents.

The Post is a dollar and people are thinking more about their money,” said Mohamad Zia, an employee at a store on 40th and 8th Avenue. Directly across from the Times building, it seems, the News is the better seller.

“The Post sells better and has always sold better,” said a newsstand employee on 45th and 8th.

Mike Mehta, standing behind a newsstand on 38th and 7th, said that both papers have been doing worse of late. Still, the Post was the winner. “New York Post is the number one, always number one, always, since I was here in 1991,” Mr. Mehta said.

At a newsstand on 42nd and Broadway, Mohamad Hussan told us that he gets between 35 and 40 copies of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid delivered each morning and always sells out. The 15 to 20 copies he gets of the News don’t always fare so well.

Nobody we spoke with, however, attributed newsstand sales to the front page on any given day.

 —Additional reporting by Anna Silman

Shooting Blanks: <em>Daily News</em> Gun Control Cover Can’t Beat Punny <em>Post</em>