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NY Post, Daily News Join to Develop World's Most Tasteless Pun


Cutthroat competitors consider alliance.

Perhaps the two most famous headlines from New York's tabloids are:


FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD (Daily News, 1975).

New York
's tabloids are like no other papers in the United States, but that hasn't exempted them from the industry's continuing revenue crunch.

The cutthroat competitors are now contemplating the unthinkable: cooperation.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation (NWS) and the New York Post, and Mort Zuckerman of Boston Properties (BXP) fame and owner of the Daily News, may combine printing operations in an effort to save millions of dollars. The papers would retain separate editorial staffs.

In addition, The Wall Street Journal, also owned by Murdoch, may combine home delivery operations with the tabloids in the New York metropolitan area.

The proposed deal wouldn't constitute a joint operating agreement - setting up a separate company with an independent board and merging all business functions while maintaining competitive newsrooms. Such a deal saved The Seattle Times, now part-owned by McClatchy (MNI), and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, owned by Hearst.

The Post loses an estimated $50 million a year; the Daily News about breaks even. Murdoch sought to buy Long Island's Newsday, and the deal probably would have nearly eliminated the Post's losses.

Murdoch and Zuckerman each bid $580 million for Newsday, derided as a "tabloid in a tutu," because it commits the unpardonable sin of tabloid journalism: Jumping stories, or starting a story on one page and finishing it on another. It also lacks the sass of its big city rivals.

The Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, sold Newsday to Cablevision for $650 million in an effort to reduce debt. The sale apparently led the Post and the News to think about combining printing operations.

The Post and the News each sell about 700,000 copies daily, but are completely different newspapers. The news pages of the Post are an adult comic book filled with stories about celebs, crime, goofy politicians and pervs. That's perverts, to wit: A story about transit officials fretting about a campaign to combat deviants was headlined: ANTI-PERV ADS 'TOO PERVY'.

Page Six dishes dishy gossip (but rarely runs on the actual page six). The Post has a conservative editorial page, and its business section concentrates on what made New York famous – the stock market, media, advertising and real estate. It breaks news. The Post has terrific sports coverage, life's toy department.

In a frequently told story, a Post ad rep long ago called Macys (M), but was rebuffed because "Your readers are my shoplifters." No more. The Post is now filled with ads for Verizon (VZ) wireless service, Saks (SKS) glitz, Steve Madden (SHOO) shoes and multi-million dollar real estate in Manhattan and the Hamptons.

The Post has deftly pegged itself as a second read and is all over Wall Street. It shows up on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYX), while the Daily News is nearly invisible.

The Daily News makes its pitch to blue collar workers and minorities. Unlike The New York Times (NYT) which tells you all about Zimbabwe and other garden spots but very little about life in Bronx or Queens, the Daily News covers the outer boroughs. (Question: what do you call a New York Times reporter in Staten Island? Answer: a foreign correspondent.

This year, the Daily News' editorial writers won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of editorials entitled "9/11: The Forgotten Victims." The editorials detailed the growing medical problems stemming from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in September 2001. The paper has won a total of 10 Pulitzers.

The exterior of the old Daily News building on East 42nd Street became the Daily Planet in the Superman movies. But in a bow to costs, the paper's offices are now located in the vast wasteland west of Penn Station, in a building that looks like it was built with plans smuggled out of North Korea.

Here's one last Post headline to lighten your day: BEST SEX I EVER HAD.

The story quoted the then sweetie and future ex-trophy wife of a certain New York zillionaire entrepreneur with strange hair and an ego bigger than Yankee Stadium. For best results, don't ask.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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