Forbes compares the media legends and finds the Times still ahead in key categories, but the Post had a good year and the Times suffered through its worst in some time, maybe ever:
- Then came The New York Times’ annus horribilis. The Jayson Blair scandal germinated quietly enough, with the young reporter accumulating corrections that did not draw appropriate reprimands from the newspaper’s top editors. Blair’s delinquency eventually made it to the front page of the Times, and, after a harrowing interoffice war, those editors were forced to resign. When the Times recently ran another lengthy article on factual errors involving a story in the business section, some wondered whether the once-swaggering Gray Lady was entering an era of self-flagellation. As the S&P 500 has grown 10.3% in the past year, New York Times shares fell 1.4%.
Washington Post, in the meantime, has seen shares gain 38% in the past 12 months. While the war and recession were hurting ad sales for everyone in the industry, including AOL Time Warner, Knight Ridder and Gannett, Washington Post’s cable and education businesses drove up profit. Even the approximately $75 million sale of IHT proved a good business move, as the paper was believed to have been losing money. Washington Post shares rose on the news. And perhaps most rewarding of all, while the Times was able to win just one Pulitzer in 2003 after capturing an amazing seven the previous year, the Post went home with three.
They both have excellent websites, which is most relevant to our work here.