The Sun-Times paper copy is pretty priceless today. It's one of those that you buy so you can put it in a shoebox to throw out a few years later. Locally, I was excited for their front page. Really, 9/11 related front-pages are the Sun-Times thing. WAR! GUILTY! BLOOD! MURDER! Those are classic Sun-Times' headline types. But when I saw today's headline, I wasn't that impressed.
Front pages are not really about the news of the day or even getting people to buy the paper, but more about long-term brand marketing and how the headline might look on a t-shirt. I guess I didn't figure the Sun-Times to be in the novely t-shirt business.
But not to be outdone, the Redeye did the exact same thing.
So is this shared brilliance? Or shared laziness? And the bigger question: Which organization is more embarrased by the association?
More random observations:
- Last night, WBEZ City Room Editor Ammad Omar called me at 9:45pm to tell me that reports were coming out that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. I asked who he heard it from, AP? NY Times? Tribune? No, it was on ESPN 1000 - they broke in during the Mets/Phillies like it was a sideline report.
- Twitter was the preferred method for information. See, TV news gives you images. Radio gives you real time experiences. Newspapers and web sites gives you facts. And Twitter gives you all that plus great ideas, side stories and jokes. Like this one:
No joke, @TheRock knew bin Laden was dead before anyone in the media: http://twitter.com/#!/TheRock/status/64877987341938688
- Worldview was supposed to be on tape today - getting a much needed day off after a succesful Global Activism Expo this weekend. But when the news broke, the team scrapped the planned show and started planning. What are the stories that would bring them in? According to Senior Producer Steve Bynum, there are only three: "Terrorist attack on U.S. soil, presidential assasination (or attempted assasination) and Osama bin Laden being killed."
- Once you have the basics covered, it's a hard story to cover locally. And truthfully, today is a pretty big news story in Chicago. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is going to name his new top cop and Maggie Daley is back in the hospital. Add the Chicago Bulls starting their second round playoff series at the UC. So you have enough news to go around. Not to mention a great music story about Pitchfork and Odd Future.
- The question I have is for you, the news consumer: Is this something you want us to chase? Is this the kind of story you want wall-to-wall coverage on? Judging by early morning web numbers, the answer is yes. And last night, they estimated that there were 4,000 Tweets per second! So when does the story move out of the news cycle?
- I went to bed last night around 2am, pulling myself from CNN TV news. I didn't want to miss any late-breaking news or more details about the raid. I woke up this morning around 6:30am and turned it on again. Same graphic (Breaking: Osama Bin Laden dead) and the exact same banter from new talking heads. It reminded me of the day after 9/11. We watched and watched and watched network and cable news ad naseum, with no new information. The same photos, same videos, same reports from reporters. It's just mind numbing media and it seems to be happening again.
- Fireworks reportedly were shot off in Bucktown, West Town and Wicker Park last night. Which begs the question: Do people have a stash of fireworks in their garages? Just in case, do they keep a couple M-80s just in case the Bulls win or we kill public enemy #1?
- The celebrations in the street are perplexing, but I do understand it. But I don't think it's all as cathartic and joyous as people think. CNN put a camera on the White House. People who lived near nearby (mostly young people) saw there was a celebration and went. Partly to celebrate a political assasination, partly to get on Wolf Blitzer.
- The Navy Seals killed bin Laden, but the New York Times took away his dignity.
- Finally, we are running around trying to collect archives from various interviews and shows. For my money, nothing beats this story produced by This American Life in 2005.