12:13 pm Jan. 30, 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: At some point in yesterday's production process, editors at the News had a nice, clean break on an exclusive for this morning, and a sad and extremely photographic story.
Two sisters, aged 3 and 5, bundled up in hooded down coats and Ugg boots, were found standing on the sidewalk together at Shore Parkway and East 102nd Street in Sheepshead Bay by an elderly couple, who called 911. Each was holding a packet of spare diapers. Except for saying they believed they lived on "53rd Street" (which is not specific enough to be helpful in this part of Brooklyn) and their own first names, they didn't have much for police to go on. News photographer Todd Maisel got lots of pictures of the two at the precinct, holding their bundles and looking, actually, pretty cheerful and extremely cute. They're in close-up on the front, their picture over the word "DUMPED." "Two beautiful little girls are left on Brooklyn sidewalk by their mother."
Pretty impressive, this story (which actually only takes up about 10 column inches inside, confirming that this was mostly a photo play). Maisel followed cops as they brought the girls on a canvas of the neighborhood, including the massive Bay View Houses, a housing project nearby. The girls told cops their mother dropped them there, and that they didn't know why. Todd Maisel also gets a reporting credit here, along with Sarah Armaghan and Bill Hutchinson. But the fact is that the story caught fire before the News was done printing papers. So while they beat the Post, they weren't able to get the news that broke at 11:24 p.m., that the mother had been found and arrested for child endangerment. In fact, nobody had it—not even the News reporters who had shadowed officers Billy Morales and Ed Centeno searching for the woman earlier Sunday.
In the end, the beat cops may not have been the ones to locate the woman. Dalisha Adams, who was found by matching the girls' first names to previous records with the Administration for Children's Services. Still, timestamps online at the News website suggest that the update only made the site after 11 a.m. this morning, while the Post got it up a little after 8. Meaning the story was old and no longer exclusive by the time most people were reading it. That's just the breaks, of course; and there's no denying that for hours yesterday with little but a 911 call, the News was on top of this. The question is whether they'll be able to keep ownership of it—whether the Post will drop the thing for the cover figuring it's not their scoop so why trumpet it, or whether they'll jump in and steal the story from the News. It'll be fun to see.
One thing everyone had well before press time was Tom Brady, the New England Patriot. It's the usual trade of "trash talk" between the two teams right before the big game, in this case the Super Bowl. What is supposed to be shocking is that Brady is already "planning" the Patriots' victory parade. This is of course a little silly. I doubt very much that Brady plans the Patriots' parades. I mean, is he on the phone with a permits officer today? And let's get one more thing clear: They kind of have to start planning the parade now whether they end up having one or not.
More likely this strip along the left-hand side of the page is what it looks like: An effort to rally readers up for a week of lead-in coverage. "GIANTS WEEK!" proclaims the headline at the top of the box. There is a little shot of today's free poster (we are drowning in them here at Capital), and bullet points touting the details, including a headshot of Brady with the words "BRADY'S BASH" beneath. Dek: "QB already planning Super parade."
New York Post: Still, the loss to the News on the "DUMPED" story comes on a particularly bad day for the Post, since they're now stuck with typical "Sunday-for-Monday" stories. It's notoriously quiet in the newsroom of a five-day newspaper over the weekend. Maybe some big guns get called in on the weekend when they are breaking something big; sometimes nonperishable investigative pieces might be preserved for Monday publication, if the paper has been able to keep enough of a lid on it. But often enough, by the time Sunday rolls around, there's little to do but write off wire services from big national news events.
Last night was the Screen Actors Guild awards night, and Lea Michele from "Glee" wore a dress with a very high slit. She's shown walking the carpet with a tiny headline crunched in the lower right of the photo that reads "Thigh's the limit!" There's also a generic refer to football coverage: An oddly handled picture of Tom Brady, cut off on the left with a blue bar, with text running over both the bar and the photo that reads "Patriot games" (left-aligned) and then in not much smaller text beneath (and center-alighed, for some reason) "Tom talks trash."
If all this feels a bit without substance, thank god for the G.O.P. primary, right? "MIGHTY MITT" proclaims the heavy black text in a box on the lower right. There's no picture of Romney, no graphic at all. "Surges to 15-pt. lead in Fla." reads the dek.
Observations: As much as the News victory was undercut by the significant news development that occurred after press time (but not before the paper could have changed plates, I think) it's still exclusive to them in the tiny world of New York's two print tabloids, competing on the stands for your quarters. It's a clear-cut day.
Winner: Daily News.