This seems less like a showdown between equals than a clever move by a startup company. This is not to say that the Civil Beat should be expected to match the Star-Advertiser’s footprint, or even to blame the Civil Beat’s approach of challenging the only newspaper around. They are not being disingenuous. The numbers just don’t yet match the rhetoric, and reporters should keep that in mind when covering the story and others like it.

The Civil Beat says its subscription numbers have risen since the 50 percent off promotion began, but it wouldn’t say by how many. It looks like positioning yourself against an established media organization, especially the biggest one in town, can be a powerful way to market yourself to readers. Fans—and media watchers—love the underdog.

 

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Alysia Santo is a former assistant editor at CJR.