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Examiner: Step 1 to Worldwide Domination


Early this morning, Fishbowl–not living in a wealthy neighborhood where the average house was over a million dollars–trudged down the block to pick up the premiere issue of the Washington Examiner out of one of the 1,700 bright red distribution boxes scattered throughout the area. Upon careful examination by a panel of D.C. pundits, they have arrived at some impressive conclusions about the newest entry in D.C. journalism (which, incidentally, means that Fishbowl is no longer the “new kid” and no longer has to give Wonkette and Erik Wemple our lunch money or risk a swirlie). Their conclusions appear to be:

a) It is new;

b) It is a tabloid; and

c) It is aimed at wealthy Washingtonians.

More nuanced reviewing after the jump.

The Examiner’s first 64 pages give a preview of what the paper will be like–definitely more Boston Herald than Washington Post; definitely briefer articles (although by comparison to the Post Express it’s quite verbose!); and definitely trying hard.

The publisher’s note, available on the paper’s website, explains, “The Examiner presents a new concept of journalism that we think fits the busy Washington regional market, where our readers may be analyzing the dangers of the Middle East one minute and cheering on their 9-year-old at soccer the next.”

The first day’s paper includes your run-of-the-mill local reporting and wire stories, along with a column by the Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe (appropriately titled: “What makes us Washingtonians?”), a Notable Neighbor feature on Mark Russell, and an uninteresting gossip column.

The paper will offer a partnership with WTOP for commuter news and Federal News from (also carried on WTOP) to supplant the Examiner’s staff of 16 reporters, as well as the AP and NYT wire services.

Perhaps most interesting is the editorial page note that the paper is looking to run anonymous op-eds, in the tradition of the Federalist’s Publius.

The paper is the brainchild of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who bought up the suburban Journal newspaper chain in September. In D.C., Anschutz is adopting the tactics of his San Francisco Examiner, which he took from a broadsheet to a free daily tabloid, and his play in D.C. may be the first steps toward worldwide domination of print media. As the Post points out, an Anschurtz holding campaign has trademarked the Examiner name in at least 68 U.S. cities.

All around the Examiner was interesting enough that we’ll make the trudge down to the newsbox again tomorrow (most of its 260,000 daily press run will be home delivered in wealthy neighborhoods in northern VA, southern MD and the District), but if there are any Examiner circulation staff reading this who would like to get Fishbowl on the list for home delivery, email us. As we always say, the only thing more attractive to a journalist than free news is free scotch.

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