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NYT and WashPo information sharing

Wednesday’s Editor & Publisher carries a surprising story by Joe Strupp titled, “Swapping Scoops: Every Night the ‘NY Times’ and ‘Wash Post’ Exchange Front Pages for the Following Day.” The article claims that more than 10 years ago the two major newspapers began a formal sharing in which each would send the other their next day’s front pages. The sharing allegedly began as a courtesy between Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld. The sharing between the famous competitors raises an interesting legal question that no one has appeared to ask yet – is this agreement a violation of antitrust laws?

It should be noted that The Newspaper Preservation Act (Title 15, Chapter 43 of the U.S. Code) permits certain Joint Operating Agreements between competiting newspapers when one of the parties is a “failing newspaper.” But that is clearly not the case here and therefore the exception does not apply.

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