A snow storm and chill winds swirled through the concrete caverns of Manhattan today, but page one of the New York Trib proclaimed: "It's a lovely day."
For the Trib, it was a lovely day because it was the first day for the new morning newspaper. The Trib is the first daily newspaper to open up shop in New York City since 1940, and the first new morning paper since 1924.
The entire press run of 250,000 copies of Volume 1, Number 1 was sold out by 10 a.m., according to Trib editor-in-chief and Publisher Leonard Saffir.
And while there were some minor problems, the debut ran relatively smoothly. The presses began rolling at 9:25 p.m. Sunday night at an offset printing plant, in Parisppany, N.J., began printing about a half hour later.
Besides the weather, the first major problem involved the huge newstands at Grand Central Station, which refused delivery of The Trib unti the paper paid a "retail display allowance' - a charge that the other, more established, New York dailies do noy pay. The matter was resolved later.
Today's deput is the culmination of a dream for Saffir, 47, who was an aide to former New York conservative-Republican senator James Buckley and former Hearst correspondent. Saffir and Trib editor John Denson, a distringuished 73-year-old former editor of the New york Herald Tribune and Newsweek, have been working on their idea for a new "politically moderate" New york daily for more than five years. Denson, who came out of retirement says, "I was sitting in Florida like a normal human being, now look at me."
The paper is aiming at what Madison Avenue calls the "upscale" market - college educated, high income urbanites. Both the news and advertising content reflect that goal.
The 72-page tabloid has more than 24 pages of advertising, including full page ads for Rolls Royce, Macy's Bloomingdale, Lord & Taylor, other major retailers, banks and several magazines.
The physical breakdown of the paper resembles the design of present-day news magazines with sections such as "Overseas," "Metro and Tri-States," "U.S.," "Culture," and others.
The content also is similar to newsmagazines. Analysis and comentary take up much of the paper.
One daily section of the paper is called "The Communicators," and is clearly aimed at keeping the publishing, broadcast and advertising community interested in the paper, both as readers and as a "media buy" for advertising.
That section is run by 31-year-old Lammy Johnstone, who has been a weekend television reporter, society reporter for the rival New York Daily News (circ. 1.9 million) and managing editor of an advertising trade magazine.
"I could have pursued TV - the money is better," she said, "but the thouhgt of working on a new daily, especially in New York, was too much to pass up."
The editorial staff of 80 (if you count Denson, it's 100." says Saffir) is drawn from many publications, and boasts extensive experience. The 32 non-editorial staffers also come from widely varying backgrounds.
Associate publisher Warren Wolfe was advertising director of the New York Times when he retired there in 1975. He says a full page ad in The Trib will cost about $1,800, but contract puchases for large amount of space will cut down single page costs to in some cases, half that.
Although The Trib is a tabloid, its competition comes mostly from the New York Times (circ. 800,000), because Thr Trib is far more serious in tone than either New York tabloid, The News or Rupert Murdoch's afternoon Post (cirr. 630,000).
The Trib costs 25 cents, five cents more than The Times and The News, and the same price as The Post.
Reaction from the three papers to The Trib has come in many forms. The Times chose today to debut its long-planned "Sports Monday," a hefty weekly package of sports news and features in a special section. The Pose also debuted an eight-page "Sports Extra" pullout section in Monday's editions.
The sensationalist Post has also made a significant scheduling change. The afternoon paper was dropped the final edition which published the closing prices of the stock market in favor of an early edition which rolls off the presses at 7:40 a.m., a full 50 minutes earlier than last week. The move is designed to maket The Post more competitive with the morning papers in newsstand sales.
"We think that if The Trib can sell anything over 200,000 copies a day they can maket it," said James Brady, associate publisher of The Post. "And we welcome it. It won't take any readers from us."
Daily News city editor Sam Roberts echoed Brady's welcome for the newcomer in a telephone call t Saffir a day before publication. But in an interview today, after looking at the paper, Roberts said, "They have a long way to go."
Insiders at The Times say that the paper did an internal study of projected impact The Trib could have on Times' readership. "In the worst case." a source at The Times said, "we figure we could lose 100,000 circulation to them. But in the best case, we won't lose any."
The Times and The Trib are embroiled in a legal squabble. In August, The Times and The International Herald Tribune filed suit against Saffir, claiming that he was infringing on the trademark on the Paris-based International Herald-Tribune and its now-defunct New York counterpart, The New York Herald Tribune.
Saffir and The Trib retaliated with a $7.5 million countersuit shortly thereafter, claiming that The Times and The IHT were trying to kill his paper before it begain by illegally restraining trade.
Saffir says he is trying to wrestle away he Los Angeles Times-Washington Post daily wire service from its present contract with The New Post. Many journalists here say that service may be a necessity for The Trib, since it boasts few prestigious supplemental wire services. It is a subscriber to United Press International and The London Economist Service, among others.
Major Ed Koch, in office only nine days, stopped by the Trib office on Sunday to welcome Saffir.
More than a dozen major New York newspapers have gone out of business in recent decades. The last new paper to start up was a short-lived tabloid effort called "P.M." which opened its doors in June 1940, and had a similar format to The Trib.