The New York Times must be self-conscious about covering, as it does in this piece today, the seeming troubles of the Washington Post. That’s because the two media giants are essentially selling a similar product–international news and opinion aimed at an established if left-of-center audience. Thus they are direct rivals. This article’s target is Fred Ryan, whom owner Jeff Bezos put in charge of the Post, with the suggestion that his short-sightedness is partly responsible for the company’s drift since 2020 into loss-making. (The Times frequently boasts of its own robust results.) No doubt there are many causes of whatever ails the Post, but unmentioned here is the likelihood that the target audience has grown more reluctant to spend as much time, and money, on media that aren’t fundamentally painting a different picture. Since 2020, many a Post subscriber may have decided that the Times (which of course has a big Washington bureau and national political staff) will suit them well enough. Whereas the Wall Street Journal, which is still growing, offers a distinct focus on business and a right-of-center commentary section, the Post is just second fiddle. A version of this challenge is faced by other ambitious “newspapers” such as the Los Angeles Times–if the New York Times with its sweeping geographic reach can offer coverage and punditry that satisfies the regionalist in you, why add another course that tastes much the same?