“Yo, Philly. Stick it.”
Those were among the choice words the editorial board of the Atlantic City Press had for the Philadelphia Daily News after it covered the stabbing death of two Atlantic City tourists with a front page featuring an aerial photo of the Jersey shore community and the headline, “Tourist Death Trap.”
The vast majority of the Daily News circulation has always come from newsstand sales, so every night a talented crew of copy editors and graphic artists work to craft a lively and provocative front page. In my 20 years there, there were plenty of occasions when an idea that seemed brilliant when the hour was late and the moon was high didn’t seem so smart in the cold, hard light of the following morning.
Atlantic City is struggling to strengthen its struggling tourism and hospitality industry, and this crime, apparently committed by a mentally-ill woman with police nearby, is obviously not helpful to those efforts. The Press editorial called the DN front page “over the top and irresponsible.” Read the rest here.
The Atlantic City paper urged readers to make their views known to Daily News editor Larry Platt and supplied his email address.
I checked in with Platt, who said he understands complaints about the front page.
“It’s arguable and certainly valid to say it was unfair,” Platt wrote. “I think it’s right on the line — when you have two tourists killed in broad daylight in a populated area, in the context of a hip, new marketing campaign for that area, I think it raises reasonable questions about safety. That said, we probably should have literally raised it as a question: Tourist Death Trap?”
Platt said he’ll run plenty of the reactions he’s gotten in the Daily News.
For a different and very thoughtful take on murders in the context of development and quality of life issues in Atlantic City, read this piece from our contributor Jen Miller.