The Wall Street Journal introduced a metro section today for Greater New York in Rupert Murdoch’s ongoing efforts to go after the New York Times. The top story right now is “Rats Mob The Upper East Side” (seriously). The New York Times sent out a staff memo today to journalists mocking the Wall Street Journal‘s efforts, and offering “helpful hints to our Journal colleagues” such as “the Dodgers now play in Los Angeles, Soho is the acronym for South of Houston, Fashion Week has moved to Lincoln Center, Idlewild is now JFK and Cats is no longer playing on Broadway.”
The New York Times might have a 160-year history of reporting on the city, but it doesn’t have one thing the Wall Street Journal does. That’s right, Foursquare badges. As part of its local launch, the Wall Street Journal has created three new badges for die-hard New Yorkers and Journal readers: The Banker Badge (for checking into the financial district three times), the Urban Adventurer badge (for hitting all five boroughs), and the Lunch Box badge (for twice checking into a restaurant reviewed by the WSJ’s Lunch Box column. Hopefully, the Lunch Box reviewer will be staying away from the Upper East Side. The WSJ is also adding tips to places in New York City with links to related articles.
These tips and badges probably won’t do much to convince New Yorkers to turn to the Wall Street Journal for local reporting beyond the financial pages, but they represent another branding coup for young Foursquare. This deal comes on the heels of VH1 and the History Channel embracing the social geo startup. If you are a media company searching for street cred, it seems that you need a Foursquare badge.
Obviously, the New York Times cannot ignore this. It must respond with its own branded badges. Perhaps a Bagel Badge for checking into a bagel place for five consecutive days.