11:51 am Jan. 13, 2012
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: According to Keith Kelly at the Post, News editor Colin Myler is said to have "blown a cork" because his staff didn't deliver good enough pictures of the S.U.V. in which Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z made their "getaway" from the hospital after Knowles gave birth to their child, Blue Ivy Carter. If that's true then we know two things: Myler is very, very big on photos of Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z as page-one faces; and today, the staff of the paper is trying very hard to make good.
"FIRST PICTURES," reads a red box at the top of the front page this morning over a picture of the hospital suite at Lenox Hill where the Carter child was born. Photoshopped on top is a silhouette of Beyoncé looking—odd. Seriously: This is a very beautiful woman we are talking about, but somehow this picture makes her look wonky-eyed, no? Worse, however, is the white text at the bottom of the box reading "INSIDE BEYONCÉ'S BIRTH SUITE," which sounds just a tad more biological than it should. "MORE PIX - PAGES 4-5," reads another red box at the bottom. The photos are credited, however, to TMZ, so maybe some more corks are blowing after all. And I'm not sure I've seen the word "PIX" on the front page of the News before?
But the big news story is headlined in heavy black type in a box on the lower right: "PIMP COP." Slightly diluting its power is the dek, "… that's what the NYPD suspects this 7-year vet is." But it's an exclusive: Monty Green, a Brooklyn officer, has been the subject of surveillance by Internal Affairs Bureau investigators since 2009, when a suspect in the double-murder at the home of former Jets player Jonathan Vilma was recorded talking about him. The I.A.B. has compiled evidence since, according to the News, and presented it to the Brooklyn district attorney, who turned them down, saying they didn't have enough evidence from the investigation to ensure a conviction. A spokesperson tells the News that the department is looking into charges that would allow them to terminate Green's employment in the force. It's a nice, clean exclusive, with a seamy, marketable underside.
And, of course, it's the Friday before the New York Giants' playoff game against the defending champion Green Bay Packers, so there is a huge pullout section—20 pages. "RETURN TO THE TUNDRA" reads the headline on the front of the pullout, which is legible on the front page, too; the front-page display reads just "GIANTS 20-page pullout."
New York Post: The Packers play in a stadium called Lambeau Field, which gives the Post it's way to sell its own package: not a pull-out but, according to the paper, but "21 PAGES OF COVERAGE." "ELI MANNING STARS AS … RAMBEAU! Giants gun for Green Bay," reads the text over a photoshopped picture of action-hero Rambo with Eli Manning's head on top. The image repeats on the back cover with a twist: There, he is "RAMBEAU II," because "Eli drew first blog in '08 and now he's back for more."
But the bulk of the front page is devoted to Michael Bloomberg's plans for teachers, laid out in his State of the City address yesterday at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. "FLUNK 'EM!" reads giant knockout-white text on a black field. "Bloomberg plan to whack 1,500 bad teachers" is the dek.
The real stretch here is the red box flagged "POST EDITORIAL" (with "POST" rendered in the paper's flag style). News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch made his feelings known about Bloomberg's plan yesterday, tweeting approval from his iPad and calling governor Andrew Cuomo out for likely being too "chicken" to fight the teachers' unions to get the plan implemented. Lo and behold, the editorial is sold with the text "'Without real mechanisms to rate teachers and weed out losers, kids won't prosper.'"
The lead-in text for the news article blares some trumpets, too: "Mayor Bloomberg declared class warfare on the city's worst teachers yesterday," it begins, further along promising "an epic battle with the powerful teachers union" as a result of the plan.
Observations: I almost get the feeling that since Myler showed up at the News, it's the Post that's been changing. OK, sure: We've got more explicit tags on things on the News front page ("FIRST PICTURES") telling you directly why the editors think you should buy their paper; that feels new. There's the obsession with Blue Ivy, and there's the decision to put this exclusive about "PIMP COP" on the front. That feels much more aggressive and tabloidy than the News has been for a while.
But the Post is getting aggressive and tabloidy, too, with the front-page editorial and this Rambo illustration. If this is what happens when the tabloid war heats up, we're definitely on board.
Finally, the fact that the Bloomberg story was all over yesterday doesn't make it any less newsworthy; it's grander and broader than the News' exclusive, which, it seems to me, is drawn on a small canvas; too small to carry the front page against "FLUNK 'EM." But it was a close call.
Winner: New York Post.