Exclusive interviews! Amazing photos! Jodi Rell!

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Today's front pages, July 22, 2010. ()
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Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?

Daily News: The woman at the center of a probe into the lame-duck Paterson administration has stepped forward into the glare of media, on her own terms. It's a big enough story, though, that the News touts its "co-exclusive" interview (WNBC-TV has the television exclusive) with 41-year-old Sherr-una Booker with a giant chunk of today's wood.

Under a red snipe with yellow lettering declaring the exclusive, the main hed reads "I WANT JUSTICE: 'Battered victim' to push for new charges against gov's ex-top aide."

An investigation is presently underway into whether Gov. David Paterson himself and two other top aides approached Booker after she filed a complaint with police on Halloween night claiming Johnson had torn her clothing, thrown her against a dresser and grabbed her cell phone from her, telling a friend who was there to leave if she knew what was good for her. Police found no injuries and classed the incident as harassment, and Booker failed to make a court appearance after the conversations with Paterson and his aides allegedly took place.

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Details of what happened between her and Johnson were not in the scope of the interview, which was arranged through her lawyer, Ken Thompson; nor was anything about her contacts with Paterson or aides.

"It's important for us to let the [state] attorney general's staff and [former Chief] Judge [Judith] Kaye complete their investigation," Thompson tells the News. "We are not going to say anything that's going to possibly compromise their investigation."

With Paterson already dropping out of running for a full term and Johnson out of the picture, the traction in this story is mostly just breaking the news that Booker is going to seek a full criminal investigation. There's not much more destruction this whole affair can cause in Albany, after all. But it certainly stands to make the spectacle of Paterson's downfall more vivid, if the police do take up the matter.

Negligibly, across the top in cobalt-on-light-blue, is news of the death of Ralph Houk, the first Yankees manager to be canned by the late George Steinbrenner and the third recent death in the extended Yankees family after the Boss himself and Bob Sheppard.

The New York Post: On July 8, as you may remember, the News and the Post both fronted the story of LeBron James' impending announcement of which NBA team he'd join in his first season as a free agent. The News headline was "BIG CONN. JOB." Today, the Post rips off the pun—for a story about Nutmeg State governor Jodi Rell's efforts to get "intimate" with New York hedge-funders in Darien. "The powwow" with New York Hedge Fund Roundtable chief Timothy Selby "is set for Aug. 2 at The Water's Edge at Giovanni's in Darien." In a letter to Selby obtained by the Post, Rell called it "a lovely place where we can talk further about Connecticut's advantages and the needs of your industry."

In a bid to get you angry about this poaching expedition, the Post does its usual angry-tongue-in-quivering-cheek routine: "The restaurant features a mouth-watering menu of chateaubriand, special double porterhouse and even a 'New York cut T-bone,' along with seafood and Italian delights. Fine wine and top-shelf liquor are also available."

No fear: this is not the Post's biggest sale today. For that, feast your eyes on the picture of a giant whale leaping out of some water toward a yacht in full sail. "Whale crushes yacht" reads the headline. "AMAZING PICTURES" are promised. So you know, if nobody's looking, prepare to be amazed. This happened in Cape Town, South Africa. Question: If you can use amazing photos of amazing animals from anywhere in the world doing amazing things to make good wood, why doesn't this happen every day?

Also: "Rookie to the rescue." Colin Curtis does seem like a nice guy.

Observations: Well, there isn't much of a show here today, is there? The News' exclusive may be short on the new details about the Paterson-Johnson scandal we're all waiting for. But of course if the Post had brokered this deal, you probably wouldn't be looking at whale photos on the subway this morning.

Winner: Daily News.