Matthew Price, writer and book critic
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New Odds: Death of the Metro Daily

The New York Sun closed up shop today, and it’s sad to see it go. But The Sun was more a niche publication than a major metro—my benchmark is a circulation of 100,000 plus, and The Sun’s circ was far below that. In my original post I laid 2-1 odds on the Boston Herald being the first major metro to fold. But the paper seems to holding steady. Ominous things are happening with other of my selections, so here are some revised odds.

The Star-Ledger. Open: 6-1. Current: 4-1. The publishers are still predicting dire consequences—a sale or outright closure—if they don’t get significant concessions from their drivers union by October 8. The mailers union agreed to a deal earlier this month, and non-union employees are taking buyouts, so perhaps the scare tactics are working. But I don’t see a good ending for The Star-Ledger.

Philly Inquirer. Open: 4-1. Current: 3-1. If there’s a drabber big city newspaper in America , I’d like to see it. The Inquirer needs to be redesigned from top to bottom. Say what you will about Sam Zell and his nutty “innovation officer” Lee Abrams(the man is a memo writing demon), but they’ve injected some vitality into the Chicago Tribune, former title holder of drabbest paper in America, which is sporting a cool new design. The Inquirer soldiers on like it’s 1975. Please, Brian Tierney, do SOMETHING to make the Inquirer more pleasing to the eye—maybe you’ll pick up some new readers.

Meanwhile, the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia recently voted to postpone a *$25-a -week raise which was due for Inquirer and Daily News journos. A noble sacrifice, but if Tierney and Philadelphia Media Holdings can’t afford an extra 25 bucks a week, their balance sheet must be a total disaster.


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