‘Examiner’ Makes Its D.C. Debut

LOS ANGELES A free, six-day-a-week regional newspaper launched today in Washington, D.C., supported with an ad campaign by independent Thomas, Taber & Drazen, the agency said.

The 60-page, tabloid-style Washington Examiner will maintain an in-city editorial staff to cover local issues including real estate, crime, high-school sports, area dining and government, according to the paper. The difference between the Examiner and other suburban papers, said Daphne Fink, managing partner, account director at TTD, Denver, is that it will “position itself as a serious newspaper,” also offering in-depth coverage of national and international news.

In addition, editor David Mastio said the paper would not have political or social allegiances.

In an effort to draw readers and advertisers, TTD crafted a campaign featuring several print, outdoor and radio executions and two 30-second TV spots, Fink said. Ads revolve around the tagline, “The local paper with a bigger view of the world.”

Print executions began running last week in trade publications and the Washington Business Journal. Ad messages will also be distributed by direct mail.

“The ads have parts that play off of each other,” Fink said of the two-panel creations, meant to be both entertaining and poignant. In one, Condoleezza Rice leans over and whispers in Colin Powell’s ear; the complementary photo captures J.Lo and her husband, musician Marc Anthony, in a strikingly similar position. Text reads, “Affairs of state to affairs of the heart.”

An outdoor board follows an identical strategy, with a headshot of a fighter pilot on one side and a Palm pilot close-up on the other.

One advertiser-angled ad, launched in some trade publications last week, made news of its own: The first panel showed a girl playing the violin, while the second frame showed a Palestinian girl carrying an assault rifle. Text read, “PTA to PLO.”

The publisher, Clarity Media Group in Denver, pulled the ad after complaints of insensitivity.

The Washington Examiner, available via home delivery and at newsstands as of this morning, will be published every weekday. There will also be a Saturday-Sunday edition, said Fink. The paper expects an initial weekday circulation of 260,000.

According to the paper, headlines and opinion pages will be localized for three regions: Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Today’s D.C. edition, for example, led with a story about the city’s new Major League Baseball team, entitled “Come on Nats!” The Virginia paper led with a piece on ramifications of the Pentagon’s anti-terror plan.