On October 27, in the year of our lord, 1998, a man by the name of Conrad Black started the paper known as the National Post. This paper was to start off in one of Canada's hotly contested areas for newspapers. This area is known as Metropolitan Toronto (a.k.a. The Megacity). Obviously, the result of this paper entering the fray of journalism is what amounts to a very interesting week in terms of business. One such effect of the Post is the hostile takeover bid by TorStar to buy Suncorp.
It remains to be seen how Mr. Black's paper will do, especially in the fierce market that is Toronto. However, we (actually, I) at mathNEWS have obtained copies of the Post to review how this competitor stacks up to the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun.
As a faithful reader of the Toronto Star, there was a fair amount of hesitation in picking up this young upstart. However, having already read the daily paper, it was curiosity that lured me into National Post. Looking at the first few pages of the Post, I knew that this was quite different from the Globe and Mail and the now defunct Financial Post.
So, what makes the National Post different from any other newspaper? Well, the differences commence immediately from page one. Here, you notice that there are no cute headers at the top. Instead, there is a very plain "National Post" in Times typeface. Also, one notices that some pieces have hand-drawn characters, a very novel ideal in the paper business. So already, the Post has made itself distinguishable from the field.
The paper is broken down into four neat sections. The first section is rather obvious even to someone who hasn't picked up a newspaper in their entire life; this is the news section. Here, this is the basic variety of Toronto (hey, this is Southern Ontario), National and International news. But unlike other papers, the top of the majority of the pages in this section contains small factoids or newsclips (one or two paragraphs about an event). Although this is nothing new to papers, presenting it at the top of a page is rather unique. Finally, there are the Comment pages found at the end of this section. Here, this section is laid out in a very unusual manner. The political cartoon that should be on the first page is found in an obscure corner of the second page, underneath the Letters to the Editor. Other than that, the Comment section is not unlike other newspapers.
In its first week, the second section went by the name "Post II". "Post II"? One must say as one looks at this section, "Surely with all the talent and all this money they possess they can come up with a better name than 'Post II'!" Basically, this section deals with literary, aesthetic and athletic matters (yes, sport fans, this is the section you want if you are searching for that oh so precious Sports section). This is the section where the Post puts in the non-important crap, as opposed to spreading it around in three or four sections like a certain familiar competitor does. Sure, this may mean that certain things are not covered, but remember, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Sections three and four are considered to the the sections that the Financial Post used to be. These two sections are called (not surprisingly) "Financial Post" and "FP Investing". These two are considered to be the paper's business section. And man, the Financial Post and FP Investing are very detailed. Of course, maybe this is because the Post wants to grab readers of the Globe and Mail as well as investors. Nonetheless, this is an impressive opus that the National Post has delivered to the threshold of the door. Never again will one wonder whether to dump that stock one has on the Nasdaq exchange, for now the Post reveals all.
On the weekend, the price doubles from its usual fifty cents. And what do we get for this? Well, the Financial Post and FP Investing are left intact. However, all the stuff normally reserved for "Post II" goes into the sections "Weekend Post" and "Weekend Post II". Paragraph six of this article best expresses this section. Still, they manage to reduce this section to a reasonable size, as opposed to the Saturday (Encyclopedia) Star. As well, the Sports gets coverage in the front section of the paper after the World News but before the Editorial Section. Finally, there is a Comment section that reviews the events of the week in this crazy and mixed-up world of ours and delivers previews of what will happen. Overall, the weekend paper is one of the better ones in the Toronto market because they do not bombard one with useless sections and tragic wastes of paper.
Finally, the Monday paper has a separate Sports section and a section known as "Arts & Life". To find out what the latter section has, refer once more to paragraph six of this article. Since there is no trading over the weekend, the Financial Post and FP Investing are merged into one section.
Overall, one finds that the National Post is a creature of an entirely different species as compared to the Star, Sun and Globe and Mail. Granted, this paper has been out for a little more than a week and to say that this paper will flourish or flounder is wholly unjustifiable. However, given how the paper looks and the quality, this paper would be a good supplement to any person who frequently reads the newspaper. Is it going to stop readers from going to their old, faithful paper? Unless the regular is the Sun, probably not, but it is nice that the Post is there to provide the public with another source of information. Special kudos should be given out to the Financial Post and FP Investing. Anyway, here is hoping that the Post reaches the pinnacle already reached by a great publication known as mathNEWS!
John "The Pseudo-Expert" Swan
Paid for by the friends of the Pseudo-Expert and mathNEWS