Correctly or naively, print publishers all seem to think the iPad, Apple's (AAPL) new touchscreen tablet computer, is going to save their hides -- and Wall Street seems to agree, at least cautiously.Share prices for many big media and publishing companies were up today, and by a significantly larger margin than the market as a whole. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.41%, The New York Times Co.'s stock (NYT) was up a tidy 1.61%. A demo of an iPad edition of the Times was part of the official presentation of the new device on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post Co. (WPO) finished the day up 1.23%, USA Today publisher Gannett (GCI) climbed 1.89%, and McClatchy Co. (MNI) soared 12.9% -- although the latter probably had more to do with the announcement Wednesday of improved earnings, as well as, perhaps, with its plans to experiment with a paid model on one of its newspapers' websites.

News Corp. (NWS), which owns both the nation's biggest newspaper in The Wall Street Journal and one of its biggest book publishers in HarperCollins, stands to benefit from the iPad in several ways. Yet News Corp.'s share price was down an anomalous 0.73% today. Could it be that Wall Street doesn't love the fact that Rupert Murdoch is expensively gearing up to go to war with the Times on the local front?

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