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Are the Inky and Daily News Really So Similar?

Philly's two major dailies come under new ownership on Friday, and I couldn't help but notice this quote today from the new guy in charge:

Longer term, (new CEO Gregory J. Osberg) said, he wanted to talk with the editors of the newspapers about making them "more distinct from one another."

"I think today we are asking our consumers to choose one newspaper or the other, the way we're approaching the news," Osberg said.

"If we start to separate the brands, to become more distinct in their editorial missions, there is an opportunity for us to get consumers interested in buying both of the papers on any given day.

I'd love to know what Osberg means by that, because the Inquirer and Daily News couldn't seem more different to me. The Inquirer is the suburban newspaper, with lots of coverage of New Jersey and outlying counties that I -- as a Philly resident -- don't generally find all that useful or interesting. (It also tries too hard, I think, to be a "paper of record" with national and international news, sometimes trumpeting headlines on wire service stories you could find anywhere.) The Daily News is pretty much a Philly-Philly-Philly paper, a bit sassier and more fun, but relentlessly focused on what's going on here.

Now: My residency and biases make me a bit more of a Daily News man, myself. But I also see the value, mostly, of the Inky model. By offering such distinct publications, Philadelphia Media Network is probably already reaching more of the market than it would otherwise. The challenge isn't -- and shouldn't be -- getting Philadelphians to buy two newspapers per day. It's getting them to buy one.


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