WASHINGTON: The debut last week of The Washington Post's free tabloid newspaper The Express was met with a spoof from the city's alternative weekly that itself garnered high-profile media coverage -in the Post.
To mock the tabloid's light touch and short articles, the Washington City Paper handed out 10,000 copies of The Expresso, which boasted the motto, "Half the content, twice as free." It also featured a crossword puzzle with the consonants filled in and a people section
that consisted only of the names of celebrities.
"We knew they were going to go with a formula that cow-tows to a demographic that just wants abridged versions of the news," said City Paper editor Erik Wemple. "We were right."
To its credit, the Post responded with an unvarnished account of its new tabloid's launch, quoting perplexed readers who had the freebie shoved into their hands. The reporter, Joshua Partlow, wrote that while some were excited about the publication, "others treated the free paper like unwanted junk mail."
And Partlow's story devoted space to City Paper's stunt, and even quoted Wemple.
"I thought it was chivalrous of them," Wemple said.