Robert Thomson’s ambitions for the ‘New York Post’

The 'New York Post,' reimagined one way. ()
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Robert Thomson, C.E.O. of the new publishing-focused iteration of News Corp., gave The Financial Times an interview yesterday about the company, which officially comes into being after the close of trading today.

Mostly it's fairly straightforward stuff about how the corporation, many of whose properties bring legacies of financial trouble, means to improve things.

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson reports:

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Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, which will spin off from his 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses on Friday, are becoming “platforms” from which to launch products for smartphones, digital subscribers and international markets, according to the new News Corp’s chief executive.

Robert Thomson predicted “a year or two – no more – of transformation”, including “astute and acute” cost-cutting, investment in digital initiatives and collaborations between divisions. “These papers are no longer newspapers; they’re platforms,” he told the Financial Times.

He declined to echo Mr Murdoch’s statement last year that print losses would no longer be tolerated and would not detail the scale of planned job cuts from the integration of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, but said the company’s titles must become more profitable.

That's all fine. But it's the following tidbit that's been getting the most attention: Thomson said there's "a plan for the New York Post to compete nationally with digital news and entertainment brands such as Buzzfeed."

If that sounds familiar, it should: As we reported yesterday, it's the same strategy that's been ratcheting up competition between the Daily News and U.K. interloper Mail Online, the web version of Great Britain's Daily Mail.

“Some of the most successful recent start-ups are basically ersatz tabloid journalism,” Thomson told the FT. “If we can’t do it better than they can, then we’re not as good as we think we are.”

The Post has a lot of catching up to do: In May, its website scored a comparatively measly 6.96 million unique U.S. visitors to nydailynews.com's 14.9 million and Buzzfeed's 18.7 million, according to comScore.

The latest from Thomson is likely to influence assessments of the forthcoming makeover of nypost.com, which is being spearheaded internally by ex-Gawker editor Remy Stern with design help from Hard Candy Shell and development by Alley Interactive, both of which worked on The New Republic web re-boot earlier this year.

On Capital...

The other tabloid war: 'Mail Online' and 'Daily News' duke it out in digital

Elsewhere...

Here's a great Charlie Rose interview with Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson of The Guardian about the publication's N.S.A. coverage. [Charlie Rose]

In selling The Boston Globe, The New York Times Company will likely receive less than 10 percent of what it paid for the paper 20 years ago. [Reuters]

Another exit at NewsBeast: West Coast bureau chief is headed to Buzzfeed. [Variety]

McKinsey is back at Conde Nast. [New York Post]

Paul Smalera is leaving Reuters for The New York Times. [Talking Biz News]

Quote of the day...

I really don’t care who edits those magazines, if they were all black, or all white, or all women, or all men, or rabbits — I just don’t care. I’m aware that — and I was aware — that putting five white guys on the cover was going to be difficult, but you know, tough shit. That’s my opinion.

Dan Crowe

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Alec Baldwin's latest media blow-up:

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