The New York Post plans to start distribution in Chicago on Monday, joining the Sun-Times and RedEye in competition for commuters’ attentions. A marketing team was handing out promotional copies this morning at Union Station, complete with obligatory reference to a certain style of pizza.
Post representatives declined to give any details beyond this statement from publisher Jesse Angelo: “The rumors are indeed true. As of next week, the New York Post is coming to Chicago. We wanted the great people of Chicago to have just a little more fun and a little more NYC in their daily media diet.”
The paper enjoys the fifth-largest circulation in the United States at just under 500,000, and it will be distributed in the city and at major retail locations in the suburbs. Unknown is whether there will be any additional coverage of Chicago news, sports, or politics.
The tabloid is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., among whose many holdings are the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, and this isn’t the Australian tycoon’s first foray into Chicago’s ink-stained wretchedness. In 1984 he bought the Sun-Times for $90 million, a move that so enraged columnist Mike Royko that he fled to the hated Tribune (which, by the way, belongs to the same company as Chicago magazine and RedEye). Two years later Murdoch sold the paper for $145 million. (Those were the days, amirite? By 2011 the Sun-Times would change hands for a mere $20 million.)
Although the Post was once best known for its classic “Headless Body in Topless Bar” front page, it has lately made headlines by making headlines such as “Enjoy a Foot Long in Jail” (for onetime Subway pitch man Jared Fogle) and “Obama Beats Weiner." There have also been bizarre campaigns to publicly humiliate New York’s homeless, not to mention fingering the wrong men for the Boston Marathon bombing. Oops! (Hat tip to Gawker and Media Matters for their diligent watchdog reporting, which hopefully includes hazard pay.)
Would Chicago benefit from another newspaper? Absolutely. Could a paper from New York City meet a need currently unsatisfied by the Tribune and Sun-Times? Probably, sure! Should it be the Post? Please, please, no.
Update: A Post source says copies will be $2, double that of the Sun-Times, and it will be identical to the edition sold in New York.