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What is the difference between the New York Times, the New York Post, and the New Yorker?

Newsroom of the The New York Times circa 1920

Reporters in the newsroom of the The New York Times circa 1920.

See Sonny Bohanan’s answer to this question on Quora.com: What is the difference between the New York Times, the New York Post, and the New Yorker?

By Sonny Bohanan

The New York Times and the New York Post are daily newspapers that publish 365 issues a year — 366 on leap years — and the occasional “extra” edition in the event of world-shaking news, like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The New Yorker is a weekly magazine that publishes 47 issues a year, covering news, the arts, culture, and anything else of interest.

The three are different in many respects but similar in one: Based in New York, they all focus a good deal on things that happen in that city. The Post is the most New York-centric of the three.

The Post and the Times differ in tone, style, appearance, and story subjects — their personalities. The Post is a tabloid, which describes both its size and its attitude. It has a magazine format that can be more easily read by subway commuters. The Times is a broadsheet, which is difficult, in a crowd, to open to the inside pages.

New York Post cover from February 2016

New York Post cover from February 2016, the day after the Iowa presidential caucus.

The Post gives more prominence to salacious  stories — sex, drugs, scandal, betrayal, and such — and it is designed with a lurid red and black color scheme reminiscent of true-crime novels. The bold, clever, and often risqué front-page headlines are my favorite feature of the Post. Some headlines I enjoyed:

CLOAK AND SHAG HER (CIA boss Petraeus resigns over sexual affair)
HO-NO! (Gov. Spitzer gets caught with a prostitute)
A-FRAUD (Pretty much any story about former Yankee player Alex Rodriquez, aka A-Rod)
WEINER EXPOSED (Pretty much any story about former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner)

The Times, meanwhile, is recognized as the best newspaper in America — maybe the world. It is an annual winner of Pulitzer Prizes, having so far amassed 117 of them, beginning in 1918 for its coverage of World War I.  The Times is one of the few newspapers that has been successful in monetizing the Internet because it is so well-known and respected that people worldwide are willing to pay a subscription fee to read it online.

New York Times cover on September 12, 2001

The New York Times cover for September 12, 2001.

The Times is filled with national and international news, and it has a section for virtually any interest under the sun: Opinion, books, the arts, food, movies, sports, health, science, technology, business, weather, fashion, theater, home and garden. The strength of its brand and the advertising and subscriptions it commands give the Times the wherewithal to continue deploying reporters all over the globe, a rarity.

Of the three publications we are comparing, the Times has by far the largest editorial staff. It also is known for the more formal voice of its writing. While other newspapers refer to their story subjects, on second reference, only by last name, the Times uses courtesy titles such as Ms., Mr., Dr., and Senator in every instance. So where Tom Hanks becomes “Hanks” after first reference in the Post, he will forever be “Mr. Hanks” in the Times, or so we can hope. It is one of the last remaining online spaces where we still daily witness civility, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

New Yorker cover for October 20, 2014, issue

New Yorker cover for October 20, 2014.

If I seem to have ignored the New Yorker magazine, it is only because I’ve saved the best for last. I’ve been a subscriber to the magazine for more than 20 years, even after it beefed up its website and tripled its subscription fee.

Where else can you find the best fiction writers working today, while also learning first about (for instance) the faked intelligence that the Bush Administration used to railroad the nation into a bogus war in Iraq? If only Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had subscribed to the New Yorker, they too would have been privy, before the 2003 invasion, to information that was only available to people, like myself, who read. Just think how differently things might have turned out — how many lives saved — if the Triumvirate of Torture had but read the New Yorker‘s investigative news stories. They could have rushed in and stopped themselves from lying about Saddam Hussein, the yellowcake uranium, and the weapons of mass destruction.

But no, they failed to subscribe to the New Yorker, which caused them to fail the nation by failing (hat trick!) to stop themselves from peddling a lie to the United Nations and the world. I guess what I’m saying is, the New Yorker saves lives. Or it could have, if only . . . well, you know.

For my money, the New Yorker publishes the best long-form journalism in the United States, the best short fiction, poetry, opinion, and humor writing, plus the best movie, music, book, theater, and culture reviews. And don’t forget the cartoons, or the original illustrations that grace the cover each week.

So, there you have it. The difference between the New York Times, the New York Post and the New Yorker. I hope it changes your life in ways that neither of us could have imagined.

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