Tag Archives: NY Post

Headless woman

One of my kids asked me the other day why the NY Post — which we have home-delivered, so they see it over breakfast — had used a celebrity photo on its cover, instead of one of the more news-worthy pics that were on page-one of the NYT and WSJ, which were next to the Post on the breakfast table. (I know, the idea of three teenagers looking at — and sometimes reading — a newspaper in the morning is itself bizarre, but that’s another story.)

The answer, of course, is that while some Post front pages will feature a “legitimate” news story, its editors will usually opt for whatever image they feel is most likely to grab people — not everyone mind you, not necessarily you and me, but “most people” — by the b—s. Sometimes the photo will have nothing to do with anything. It’s what makes the Post a fun read, and either you accept it or you move on.

But did Saturday’s cover go “too far”? Look at the bullfighter’s neck and mouth, and remember that this photo ran BIG, filling the entire NY Post cover — then you decide:

What if the Post, instead of running its most famous headline — “Headless Body in Topless Bar” — published a full-page picture of the decapitated head?

Here’s a link to the bullfight story associated with Saturday’s front page, and here’s today’s follow-up. In each case, you won’t find any editorial second-guessing or soul-searching.

Today’s story updates that “the bull wasn’t spared a grisly death, even though he soundly defeated famed matador Julio Aparicio … According to bullfight rules — win or lose — the bull must die.” (On Saturday, the Post reported that the bull’s fate was undetermined.)

The Post reports that “Aparicio, 41, was recuperating yesterday in stable condition at a Madrid hospital after a 6 ½-hour reconstruction operation on his mutilated mouth, tongue and jaw.”

The photo was created to AFP / Getty Images.

Paywall rises

Rupert Murdoch’s dropped his other shoe.

After months of ranting about how the internet’s been stealing his lunch, come June his Times and Sunday Times newspapers will be the first of News Corp’s big print engines (other than the Wall Street Journal) to closet their Web products behind a paywall. The price of one day’s admission will reportedly be the cover price of a weekday print edition; a week’s access will be 2 pounds ($2.98).

News International CEO Rebekah Brooks said Murdoch’s other UK newspapers — The Sun and News of the World — would also charge readers, and Murdoch’s promised the same for his American newspapers (including the New York Post), although no specifics have been announced.

I suppose we can wait until June to see how this plays out across the pond, but meanwhile we’ve got lots of commentary to consider.

We’ll start with Brooks’ Times announcement, in which she said:

At a defining moment for journalism, this is a crucial step towards making the business of news an economically exciting proposition. We are proud of our journalism and unashamed to say that we believe it has value.

The most incendiary reaction so far is from hyperlocal internet sage Jeff Jarvis, who savaged Murdoch in his Guaradian column.

Jarvis, who used to work for Murdoch at TV Guide, says, “I respected his balls. It is a pity to see them gone.”

Jarvis sizzles with disappointment — anger — over what’s about to happen at News Corp:

Rupert Murdoch has declared surrender. The future defeated him.

By building his paywall around Times Newspapers, he has said that he has no new ideas to build advertising. He has no new ideas to build deeper and more valuable relationships with readers and will send them away if they do not pay. Even he has no new ideas to find the efficiencies the internet can bring in content creation, marketing, and delivery.

Instead, Murdoch will milk his cash cow a pound at a time, leaving his children with a dry, dead beast, the remains of his once proud if not great newspaper empire.


But isn’t there at least a possibility that people will pay? After all, most people (admittedly fewer every day) do pay for a print product? Says Jarvis:

Just because people used to pay in print they should pay now — when the half-life of a scoop’s value is a click, when good-enough news that’s free is also a click away, when the new newsstand of Google and Twitter demands that you stay in the open, searchable and linkable?

This argument I hear about paywalls comes from emotional entitlement (readers “should” pay – when did you ever see a business plan built on the verb “should”?), not hard economics.

Support for Murdoch’s plan appears in today Sun, in a column by BBC broadcaster John Humphrys in which Humphrys declares:

Good journalism has to be paid for, just as we have to pay for the plumber who fixes a leak, or it will not survive.

And let’s be clear: We have the best papers in the world. Full stop.

I want to keep it that way…

The cornerstone of democracy is a well-informed public engaged in passionate debate.

Thomas Jefferson, the author of America’s Declaration of Independence, said: “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.”

That was right two centuries ago and it’s right today.

And we must not put the papers at risk by thinking we do not have to pay for them.

Go to the Guardian site to read the rest of Jarvis’ column, along with some of the 179 comments posted as of noon on Sunday. For more from Jarvis, go to his Buzz Machine blog.

Click here for a view supporting Murdoch’s approach, by former Australian IT editor Ian Grayson who writes: “The likes of Jarvis could not be more wrong.”

See how one of Murdoch’s smaller newspapers — the weekly Brooklyn Paper (video) — is approaching the possibility of paywall erection.

And click for a Patrick Blower “live draw” cartoon.

‘Curse of Joe Biden’ … or editors stuck in their sophomore year

Vice President Biden’s barely audible use of the “F” word was newsworthy, made-for-the-Internet flash. But front page play in four of New York’s five newspapers?!?

New York media’s fixation with the “F” word exploded yesterday ahead of the Biden story. Someone protesting a massive Brooklyn redevelopment project hacked into an electronic traffic sign and inserted “F— Ratner,” spelling out the four-letter word and directing it at the developer, Bruce Ratner.

We reported yesterday how online editors were divided on using a photo of the “F” sign in its natural versus an edited state. Bloggers went au natural, as did The Brooklyn Paper.

However, the Times, Post and NY1 obliterated three of the word’s four letters.

Who were they protecting? The children who’d see today’s front pages — or hear the buzz on TV or the interent — and easily guess what was left out? Or readers who still have a sense of propriety — certainly, they would not be offended by Metro’s giant f****g. Give me a F—ing break!

Although both the Times and Post yesterday prominently featured the traffic sign online —  edited — neither referenced it in their print editions today.

As for Biden, the Times was alone is not running a big story on his stumble, covering it instead at the end of a bill-signing sidebar on A19:

Mr. Biden introduced Mr. Obama, lauding the president’s “perseverance” and “clarity of purpose.” But in a remark that he clearly did not intend to be heard, Mr. Biden used a vulgarity in his private congratulations to the president that, while not audible inside the room, was picked up by a broadcast microphone and spread quickly across the Internet.

“Mr. President, this is a big [expletive] deal,” Mr. Biden whispered, inserting an adjective not used in polite conversation. Later, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, sent out a message over Twitter: “And yes, Mr. Vice President, you’re right.”

VP Biden drops an ‘F bomb’

We’ll wrap up this day — which Coney Media began with homemade sex tapes, followed by a F—ing road sign that cursed a real-estate developer — with Vice President Biden’s joyful, if unfortunately worded, open mike utterance after the House delivered the administration’s health reform win.

“This is a big F—ing deal,” Biden whispered to President Obama (as if the POTUS didn’t know it was so). From the NY Post Website (with video):

THE POST’S LEDE: Oh Joe he didn’t! Vice President Joe Biden let rip another of his legendary gaffes at a crucial moment for the Obama administration Tuesday, whispering a profanity to the President.

Coverage from USA Today and the Telegraph in London.

PLUS: The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog asks, “How fast are Americans when it comes to making a quick buck?” Pretty fast:

Just hours after Joe Biden let loose with an f-bomb that was caught by an open microphone following President Barack Obama’s signing of the health bill into law this morning, his exact exclamation — “This is a big f— deal” — has already become a t-shirt (caution, salty language ahead if you click on the link) available for sale in sizes running from S to 6X.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Consider this: Tens of thousands of your readers drive by a sign bearing an unarguably obscene word. The bloggers run it. How about you? [Multiple updates]

If you’re the NY Times (UPDATE: or even the NY Post!), you edit the photo.

The scene is near the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, NY (planned future home to the NJ Nets). “Ratner” on the sign refers to Bruce Ratner, the project’s politically-connected developer.

Top photo was posted early this morning on Curbed.com and on other NYC blogs.

The next photo, by Becky Hanger, was posted by the NY Times at 11:49 am with this caption: This sign near the Atlantic Yards site is supposed to say “Fifth Avenue Closed.” It was changed to something unprintable. We erased the first word and left the second intact.

UPDATE: NY Post story, posted at 3:30, included a censored photo:

UPDATE: Gersh Kuntzman’s Brooklyn Paper (owned by the NY Post) earlier this afternoon posted a brief item [later expanded to a full story] accompanied by an unedited photo. Both the Post and Brooklyn Paper used photos by George Causil. On its home page, The Brooklyn Paper published this:

WARNING: Clicking the above link means you’re willing to see and read a curse word — and it’s a doozy!

UPDATE: NY1 reports — video and story link here — that the sign was up for “a number of hours before it was taken down” and caused “quite a stir this morning for drivers and pedestrians alike who stopped to do a double take”:

“The first word rhymes with ‘luck’ — and it’s not very nice and I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out the rest,” reported Kristen Shaugnessy.

Said one passerby: “That does not say what I think it does, does it? Oh no! Ooh, I can’t say that either.”

Subway tragedy: Everything changed in a New York minute

A woman going about her work-a-day routine dropped her gym bag onto a subway track at the start of Thursday night’s rush hour. Then she did what every New Yorker knows instinctively not to do: She jumped onto the track to retrieve it.

On the 11 o’clock news, we saw transit workers washing away her blood.

Within minutes, bloggers were on it … even the New York Times’ City Room was updating, and in this case the Times drew ahead of the pack.

When something like this happens, people want to know about it now. Not in an hour, not on the six o’clock or 11 o’clock news — now. In New York, particularly when it involves the city’s lifeline — the subways — and even more so when it happens at a station filled with youngsters heading home from school, people — included worried parents — want information immediately.

Chad Rachman shot the dropped bag that led to a 48-year-old woman's death. The picture ran on page one of the NY Post.

With that in mind … what’s left for next day print?

Friday morning’s papers covered the story in grizzly detail, and there’d be more on Saturday. A 48-year-old woman (initially reported as a school-age girl) died as she attempted to scramble back onto the platform, squeezed between the train and the platform.

From the Daily News:

“The train hit her and her head was stuck between the platform and the train,” said Katy Liang, 12, a seventh-grader at Robert Wagner Middle School.

“A woman was screaming ‘La cabeza! La cabeza!” said Katy, saying the Spanish word for “head.

The NY Post (pictured) carried the day. Instead of joining the Times and News in featuring shots of emergency workers on the station platform, it zeroed in on the bag the woman was attempted to recover. Inside, gym clothes and toiletries. Nothing worth dying for. Kudos to photographer Chad Rachman who waited for that shot.

From the Post account:

“You could see some woman with her head stuck in between the train [and the platform] and her arms sticking out,” recalled witness Andrew Pistella, 30. “Some guy was screaming, ‘Is this real? Is this real?’ It looked like a mannequin.”

It was bedlam on the platform, with children, teenagers and old ladies shrieking hysterically, witnesses said.

“Who drops their [bag] down there, then jumps down there to get it?” Pistella asked.

The money quote’s in the Times’ follow-up account one day later:

Her father, Robert Mankos, 82, said Friday that he had hardly begun to process his daughter’s death and that he already felt stretched past his limit from caring for his wife, who has Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

“I felt like 60 before,” he said in a phone interview from his home in North Bergen, N.J. “I feel like 105 now.”

Ms. Mankos lived by herself and had never married, her father said. He said she often visited her mother at a nursing home in New Jersey.

Mr. Mankos said he could not fathom why his daughter had jumped onto the subway tracks. “I guess she dropped her purse,” he said. “Except you never do that. Never.”

The family was planning a small private service in the coming days.

“It’s too late now,” Mr. Mankos said. “I’ll be praying for the rest of my life, until I die.”

Reader sensibilities: Just how considerate should an editor be?

When what you publish is likely to really piss people off — and let’s define “people” as your average work-a-day readers, not powerful politicians, rich developers or prized advertisers — should you hold back (or at least thoroughly weigh the arguments for holding back)?

And should you be at least as considerate to the sensibilities of your average reader as you are likely to be toward a powerful politician, rich developer or prized advertiser?

We have two real-time examples to consider this morning.

The Brooklyn Paper (my old pub) yesterday broke a story on its Website about the prevailing practice in Park Slope (a notoriously [sic] child-friendly, “socially-conscious,” uber-liberal neighborhood that is at the heart of Brooklyn Paper country), of paying nannies off-the-books.

The story originated with Park Slope Parents, a popular local blog, which produced a beautiful 73-page chart-filled study. The Brooklyn Paper did little original reporting (beyond publishing a column attributed to an off-the-books nanny); it simply reported someone else’s findings. The story was packaged by The Brooklyn Paper with its familiar hysterical slant — the paper called the news “earth-shattering” — and it was quickly picked up by local blogs and, this morning, by the NY Post.

Should The Brooklyn Paper have stated without equivocation that a large number of its readers are flouting the law and, perhaps of greater importance in a community like Park Slope, exploiting workers who, because they are largely third-world immigrants, many here illegally, are at a significant disadvantage in an employer-employee relationship? Ouch.

The survey did include findings that might be interpreted as image-affirming by self-conscious Park Slopers (such as that most nannies get vacation time and sick days, and that more than 40-percent of employers help their nannies find subsequent employment); but The Brooklyn Paper failed to report these findings or chose to downplay them in relation to its off-the-books lead.

Was The Brooklyn Paper correct in its approach?

As of this morning, 28 readers had posted comments online — this is an extremely high number for The Brooklyn Paper’s Website. Most expressed strong views, but they were divided. How about you?

• • •

Now comes this item from Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander:

Powerful photographs can have lasting impact, and a Post photo of two men kissing is an image that many readers can neither forget nor accept.

The photo, which ran on the newspaper’s front page and online last week, captured Jeremy Ames and Taka Ariga kissing outside DC Superior Court on the day that the District began accepting license applications for same-sex marriages.

Almost immediately, I began hearing from upset readers.… A few of the readers have engaged in rants, often with anti-gay slurs. … But most simply said The Post had offended their sensibilities by publishing the photo, especially on the front page.

A 65-year-old woman who’s been a subscriber since the 1960s wrote to say she had canceled:

“I realize that the world is changing rapidly – much more rapidly than I would like it to. While I realize that the Post must report on these changes – even the ones with which I do not agree – I feel that the picture on Thursday morning was an affront to the majority of your readership. It is not something that I want coming into my home. I believe that even your editors know that it would have been better placed in the Metro section and that it would have mitigated its impact to do so.”

Alexander reports hearing similar sentiments on the ombudsman’s call-in line. “Put it on page 10 or page four,” said one caller, “Put it in the paper, but I do not like it right there where I can’t avoid looking at it.”

Post circulation vice president Gregg Fernandes told Alexander that within a few day, 27 subscribers had canceled, citing the photo. (Alexander adds that “in contrast, The Post reported only two cancellations immediately after last July’s ethics uproar over its ill-advised plan to sell sponsorships to off-the-record ‘salon’ dinners at the publisher’s residence.”)

Here’s Alexander’s conclusion — what is yours?:

Did the Post go too far? Of course not. The photo deserved to be in newspaper and on its Web site, and it warranted front-page display.

News photos capture reality. And the prominent display reflects the historic significance of what was occurring. The recent DC Council decision to approve same-sex marriage was the culmination of a decades-long gay rights fight for equality. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the District. The photo of Ames and Ariga kissing simply showed joy that would be exhibited by any couple planning to wed – especially a couple who previously had been denied the legal right to marry.

There was a time, after court-ordered integration, when readers complained about front-page photos of blacks mixing with whites. Today, photo images of same-sex couples capture the same reality of societal change.

—Ed Weintrob