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Friday, October 17, 2008

A couple newspaper notes: NYT/WSJ

I've saved a large number of newspaper articles over the past few months with the intention of blogging them, but very few have made it up. Esp with the finance-related ones, by the time I get around to going through the pile(s) of pulled-out pages I've stashed here and there around the apartment, the articles are too dated.

That said, I do still have a handful that I will get up..e.g., the good number references to Robert Moses that I've seen in the NYT over the past few months.

But for now wanted to do a short note with a couple observations about reading the paper (which is consuming a large proportion of my time these days, both in an absolute and relative sense (relative in the sense that it's "crowding out" book-reading..hence why I still have hundreds of pages left in "The Power Broker" and in "Death & Life of Great American Cities", even though I started both of them back at the beginning of the summer of Sam).

The two observations:

1) I am truly lamenting the demise of the stand-alone Metro and Sports sections in the print NYT. We had a system: Anj would take the front page, maybe Arts, maybe Business, which I'd catch up with in the following day. I'd start my day with the Sports and Metro--short and relatively non-heavy reading. And to tell the truth, I was spending more time with Metro over the past few months that Sports. A couple of the story lines that caught my attention over the summer:

(a) Brooklyn crime reports (e.g., the elevator assault in Crown Heights, the cabbie shot in the eye in Clinton Hill, the 9-year old shot and killed in the Weeksville Houses: )

(b) Transit-related coverage, ranging from newsy stuff like the proposed MTA fare hike, to features like the one on the Franklin Avenue shuttle, to stuff in between, like the article about "In Decade of Unlimited Rides, MetroCard Has Transformed How City Travels"--which included a distribution!

As of Oct 6, the Times folded Metro into the A section (and renamed it New York), and Sports into Business. So although the Metro stories are there, they're buried deep within the A section, and I don't get my hands on them til the following day...

2) Over the past couple weeks we're once again getting not only the print NYT delivered, but also the print WSJ. We were barely keeping up with the NYT (esp since I have a hard time recycling w/o at least flipping through) we've got a veritable avalanche of paper. I doubt we'll keep the WSJ beyond a short trial period, but it has been useful, as I've sorted out what, for me, is worth reading out of the Journal: choose one or two relevant articles out of Money & Investing; skip most of the front page section, but take a look at the op-ed pages; see if anything interesting in the Personal Journal; I skip Marketplace altogether.

Ironically I've found the op-ed pages to be what I spend the most time on, and even though it's often not stuff I agree with, they've often got stuff worth reading. E.g., right now I've got a healthy pile of pulled pages containing: "A Short Banking History of the US"; Gary Becker saying "We're Not Headed for a Depression"; a couple by their write Crovitz, one on VAR ("The 1% Panic") and one on JP Morgan ("He was more effective than Bernanke and Paulson combined"); a conservative economist writing on "Krugman Helped Us Understand Trade"; just yesterday, Karl Rove claiming "Obama Hasn't Closed the Sale", and their writer Daniel Henninger on "McCain's Katrina"; and today, William Poole on "Treasury Has No Authority to Coerce the Banks":

As you can see..way too much to keep up with..

Finally, one joint WSJ/NYT note: one reason I used to like getting the print WSJ was to read breakingviews on a daily basis, which used to get carried on the back page of the Money & Investing. But the WSJ dropped them in favor of their in-house "heard on the street", which is decent; but I still prefer breakingviews--which got picked up by the NYT, page 2 of Business!

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