New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is staying cool in light of The Wall Street Journal‘s forthcoming New York metro section. He’s staying so cool, in fact, that he told Howard Kurtz today that his paper was responding to the Journal’s attack with a new private-school beat and a couple weekend features.
“We’ve treated the Journal’s challenge as an occasion to fortify our news report with some new beats, including one on private schools,” says Keller, who has also lured a culture reporter from the Journal. “We’ll be adding some new weekend-oriented features to the Thursday and Friday papers.
Keller also told Kurtz that the Times thrives on competition. The paper’s public reaction to the event has been fairly level-headed. The main responses thus far have been to poach reporter Kate Taylor from the Journal and roll out an ad campaign painting the Journal as inferior in terms of reach and circulation.
The Journal, meanwhile, has thrown considerable resources into its Metro section — upping its New York sports coverage, hiring former New York Sun talent, deploying a nightlife reporter and dropping $15 million on the whole project.
The conflict is “more than just a local dust-up,” says Kurtz:
The News Corp. chairman [Rupert Murdoch], whose properties include Fox News and the New York Post, delights in painting the Times as elitist and out of touch. “We believe that in its pursuit of journalism prizes and a national reputation,” he said recently, “a certain other New York daily has essentially stopped covering the city the way it once did.”