U.S. prosecutors in New York have subpoenaed two New York City tabloids, the Daily News and New York Post, in a probe of how the rivals report circulation figures to potential advertisers.
The subpoenas of the two city tabloids represent a widening of a probe that has already caught Tribune Co.'s Newsday, based in Long Island, New York, in circulation misstatements.
Daily News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said Wednesday that the paper would cooperate with the probe. Post General Manager Geoff Booth was quoted in his newspaper as saying the Post would cooperate "with all the requirements of the subpoena."
Neither newspaper provided details about the specific information sought in the investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The U.S. Attorney's office, which has not accused the Daily News or the Post of any wrongdoing, declined to comment on the matter. The request for information came amid a circulation scandal at Tribune's Newsday and Spanish language Hoy as well as Hollinger International Inc.'s Chicago Sun-Times and Belo Corp.'s Dallas Morning News.
Tribune, Hollinger and Belo have set aside millions of dollars to compensate advertisers who paid for ads in their newspapers based on inflated readership statistics.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked several newspaper chains, including Gannett Co. Inc. and New York Times Co., for circulation reporting data as part of an industrywide review.
New York's Daily News, owned by real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, and the Post, part of media conglomerate News Corp., are locked in a fierce battle for readers. The Post, which has cut its cover price in half to 25 cents, has recorded strong circulation gains the past few years.
Last week, The Post published a lengthy piece saying The Daily News may have improperly inflated its paid circulation figures. The Daily News said in response to the accusations that the Post was trying "to delegitimize the Daily News."