12:11 pm Aug. 18, 20103
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?
The New York Post: Do we think this is the last day the Post will taunt the News for its coverline touting Scarlett Johansson as the main prospect for the lead role in David Fincher's adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Today the front page of the Post touts a tick-tock story of how Rooney Mara got the gig, and how she resembles Angelina Jolie before she was famous. (Though both have famous parents.) "How 'Tattoo' girl landed dream role" reads the hed, with a silho of Mara on a red gradient background. But the Post's big story is a courtroom-driven tale of a Columbia MBA grad who is seeking a court order for Google and Youtube to reveal the identity of a commenter who calls her a "whore" beneath a video for the school in which she is featured. "WHO TUBE" reads the headline, which probably not too many people will try to puzzle out before deciding whether to pick up the paper. It's a nice job to put a story on the cover that has a real conflict and that takes place mostly in private; but—Who Cares, really?
The Bobby Thomson obit gets a nice photo-box on the lower left corner of the page, complete with vintage photo.
Daily News: It's been said in this space before that when sports wraps around to the front cover of the paper, it's because the newsroom has taken a powder. But recently there have been enough general-interest stories about sports superstars (K-Rod's assault of his father-in-law; A-Rod's 600th home run) that there was at least some sense in it. The News today basically carries a giant photo box featuring CC Sabathia … to report a score. "Yanks tame Tigers, 6-2" reads the display. New York is Anytown in August, isn't it? There's a Bobby Thomson obit box here too, without a photo, on the lower left. But the main part of the News wood is given over to yet another rehashed "Ground Zero Mosque" story. It seems that all the fracas about the mosque has distracted politicians from the bill to provide for the treatment of Ground Zero pile workers who have sustained injuries from working at the toxic site. The Post plays the story as one of survivors of the attack who wish Obama would take their side against the plans for an Islamic cultural center not far from Ground Zero. In fact, many of the statements offer not so much a criticism of Obama for defending the right of the Cordoba Institute to build, but of the politicians who are talking about the mosque to score or protect points when they should be perfecting a bill to deliver services to relief workers and others who were exposed to the toxic site after 9/11.
Observations: I can't understand why the Post after all this time would drop the mosque story from its cover today. Nor why they decided to go big with this "WHO TUBE" thing. One thing I do know: the News healine says nothing. "9/11 SLAM ON BAM" is a headline you could have attached to almost any story since he was elected president. I am inclined to disregard the boxes and just vote on WHO TUBE vs. SLAM ON BAM. And, I'm sorry, but this is one of the cases where a local story has gone national, and showing that you still own it is an important part of the success of local newspapers. The Post should have known better. Put YouTube at the top of the page with the story if you like; tag the video properly. But don't fool yourself that being first is always being best: in this case, being first to place the WHO TUBE story on the wood gets you second place.
Winner: Daily News.