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New York Times on Twin Cities edition: Maybe

Times’ plan to add locally specific coverage expands to Chicago; a Times spokesman says a Minneapolis-St. Paul decision “hasn’t been solidified.”
By David Brauer

Since I just lavished praise on the New York Times’ Minnesota coverage, I thought I’d note their continuing push to do local editions in markets such as ours.

Last Wednesday, NYT reporter Richard Perez-Pena disclosed that the Times would enter a second market, Chicago, after an initial San Francisco edition to debut this fall.

As I wrote last month, the Times effort is easy to overblow; the San Fran plan is just an extra page or two of staff-generated California news per week.

But the Chi-town push is something different: According to Times spokesperson Diane C. McNulty, the effort would be a partnership. “We’re in conversations with potential news providers in Chicago about adding local content to The Times,” McNulty told Pena.

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The eventual plan is to do all local editions this way — which could provide a spring in some organization’s step here.

Given McNulty’s statement that “Our intent is to roll out these expanded reports in several key markets around the country,” I asked her if the Twin Cities was on the list.

“The markets have not yet been solidified,” she replied.

As I noted earlier, the Times has just 10,000 Minnesota subscribers on weekdays, compared to 49,000 in the Bay Area. But adding Chicago lowers the bar to 29,000 — the number of Illinois weekday sales.

Still, there are plenty of places that seem more attractive. Here’s a list of Times weekday circ, by state. I’ve excluded the home New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region:

1. California – 94,800
2. Florida – 68,400
3. Massachusetts – 41,600
4. Pennsylvania – 38,300
5. Texas – 29,800
6. Illinois – 29,300
7. Ohio – 19,700
8. D.C. – 19,300
9. Washington – 18,500
10. Michigan – 17,100
11. Maryland – 16,900
12. Virginia – 16,000
13. Georgia – 15,700
14. Arizona – 14,700
15. Colorado – 12,100
16. North Carolina – 11,500
17. Minnesota – 10,400

If the Times plan breaks big, we’re probably in, since our relative wealth usually bumps us up in the rankings. Perhaps the presence of potential partners also helps. But unless a flood of new cities are announced next, we’ll probably be waiting in line for awhile.