For decades, New York City has been considered the media capital of the world. But that doesn't necessarily mean people want to read about it. The latest sign that Gotham is becoming a "news desert"
is The Wall Street Journal's
reported plans to shutter its "Greater New York" section.
Matt Murray, the EIC of the WSJ, yesterday sent an email to staff announcing the
paper would stop publishing the section on July 9, according to a tweet by Max Tani, media reporter for the Daily
Beast. The email asked staff to apply for other newsroom jobs, and also said it would launch a "Speed and Trending" desk for breaking news.
Murray didn't respond to PI's
emailed request for comment about the move. I suspect local news coverage wasn't a big money maker for the WSJ, and the pandemic's negative effect on the city's economy only hastened the
When the paper created the section for local coverage in 2010, observers saw it as an attempt by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to take on The New York
. The media magnate had acquired WSJ publisher Dow Jones
three years earlier for $5 billion, stoking fears he would compromise
its journalism with sensationalist reporting.
looked vulnerable as advertisers cut their spending on newspapers. The publisher in 2009 raised $250 million
from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim
and tried selling off The Boston Globe
. The NYT
ended up holding on to the
for several more years before selling the paper for a billion-dollar
When the WSJ
launched "Greater New York," the former NYT
publisher Arthur Sulzberger and president Janet Robinson sent an email to staff
that mocked its new rival, saying the WSJ
"finally decided to cover
New York north of Wall Street." The email also touted the NYT's strength in the local market.
continued to support the New York section throughout the years.
In 2015, the paper redesigned "Greater New York"
and broadened its coverage of arts and culture,
education, politics and crime and courts. In announcing the expansion, former EIC Gerard Baker touted scoops like exclusive coverage of George Washington Bridge lane closures and board clashes at
That kind of coverage isn't going to generate mass readership like coverage of politics and big business. It's not clear whether the WSJ
shut down the section after conducting an internal audit last year
. The review
was said to evaluate its coverage and audience engagement as part of a plan to increase readership and paid subscriptions.
shutdown of its "Greater New
York" section reminds me of a Columbia study last year that suggested the region was becoming a "news desert
." The world's media capital isn't immune to the problems facing local news
outlets across the United States.