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Up-and-Comer, Come and Gone?

During an online chat today, Washington Post media writer (and CNN's Reliable Source) Howard Kurtz was asked to name the Top 10 newspaper in the country. You might recognize the name of one of 'em. (OK, all of them, but, c'mon, play along.)

Washington, D.C.: Mr. Kurtz, in your column yesterday you described the Philadelphia Inquirer as a paper "that routinely ranked among the country's top 10." This got me wondering, which papers are currently considered the country's top 10? The first few are obvious, but I'm curious about the second tier. Further, what sort of things determine the conventional wisdom regarding the country's best papers? Thank you for taking our questions today.

Howard Kurtz: It's an entirely subjective exercise, of course. I think that the NYT, LAT, WP and WSJ are widely seen as in the top tier of American newspapers, and the Chicago Tribune and Boston Globe a notch below. In the past, the list would have included the Inquirer and Miami Herald, both former Knight Ridder papers that have suffered their share of cutbacks. The Atlanta and San Francisco papers certainly have their strengths. The Dallas Morning News was an up and coming paper but has been hard hit by cutbacks. USA Today is influential but obviously a different kind of publication. And if sales are the measure, the New York Post is the No. 5 paper in America. So I guess these lists have to be revised as this industry shakeout continues.

--Robert Wilonsky

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