10:37 am Apr. 12, 20112
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: I'm not sure what if any reference the News is attempting with its headline today (Raging Bull?) but I don't get it.
In a black field there's a red bar up top with yellow type that reads "SLASHER WANTED BEAUTY TO BE …" Then the melodrama continues with the knockout-white headline face: "PRETTY NO MORE." I hate to say it but what it reminds me of more than anything else is the fictional Lifetime biopic of the character Celeste Cunningham (played by Edie Falco) on 30 Rock: "A Dog Took My Face and Gave Me A Better Face to Change the World: The Celeste Cunningham Story."
The reason I hate to say it is that in fact the story of Sarah Coit supplies enough terrible drama without help from cheesy headlines. The web version of the story on the News website is headlined "Grisly details emerge …" and that's pretty much what we've got today. It's actually all too depressing to get into detail about what the News and the Post have put together today and where they differ and agree; I'll save a general wrap-up for later. But on the cover, it's important to note that a post-arrest picture of Raul Barrera, who's being held without bail on charges he murdered Coit, is inset in the black field next to a larger headshot of the victim.
The New York Post: Whereas the Post has dug up a nice big photo of Barrera looking charming, and as a result a little dangerous: Red velvet jacket, skinny jeans, skinny tie, Blackberry in hand, a wall of Louis Vuitton bags behind him. "LADY KILLER" reads the headline; "Charming beau was monster, friends say." There's also the same headshot of Coit.
The Post gives us a bit of teaser lede text, too: "A suave Raul Barrera (left), all charisma here at a Louis Vuitton party, was "very much a charmer," says his ex-boss—but he didn't fool friends of his doomed girlfriend, Sarah Coit (right). 'I knew he was going to kill her,' a neighbor on the Lower East Side said. 'His eyes were insane.'"
If only the police had seen this picture of him earlier! In which his eyes look—perfectly normal. Still, the Post has chosen a theme around which to loosely organize a whole bunch of facts about the killer and his victim, and that gives the whole exercise something like a point; we don't actually get a lot about the life of Raul Barrera, in fact. But "LADY KILLER" and this picture are a pretty good attempt at selling him as today's Main Character.
Observations: I think we've covered the main thing already: the News gives us a sort-of weird gag that's oddly tasteless and refers mostly to the nature of Coit's injuries, plus speculation about motive; the Post gives us a framework that makes sense and gives them an opportunity to fill in details they've gathered since yesterday without needing the stretch. And "LADY KILLER" works beautifully.
Winner: The New York Post.