Monday, September 28, 2009

Newspaper War

One thing I love about New York City is that there are three major newspapers all covering the city. In Arizona, where I grew up, there was one newspaper covering the entire state. Granted, Arizona as a state is not always as interesting as New York City, but it's nice to have some different perspectives at play.

When it starts to get really interesting is when the newspapers start to wildly diverge in the stories that they are telling. Working with the same facts and events, the papers shift very different narratives about what is going on in the world. The latest example I see of that is in their education reporting.

For months now, the New York Post has been touting the Mayor's education record. During the fight over mayoral control in Albany, the Post was running an educational hagiography for the mayor in daily installments. In typical Post fashion, it was anything but subtle, just in case someone might miss the point. Since then, the drumbeat for Mayor Mike's tenure over the school system has been pretty steady.

Recently, though, the Daily News has stepped up their game with a series of articles that are less-than-flattering about the mayor's reign. Even the mayor's education mailing came under some scrutiny. Keep in mind, there's only one New York school system and there's only one mayor who's in charge of it. But depending on which newspaper you read, you'll get a very different perspective on what's going on.

I can't say that I know why the papers are taking such different tacks. Maybe the Daily News is planning to endorse Thompson, while the Post is obviously going to be endorsing Bloomberg. Maybe the reporters just have very different takes on what's happening. Likely, it's something else entirely. But whatever it is, it shows how nice it is to have some different perspectives.

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