NYT Should Take a Cue from CNN.com

In a post yesterday about New York Times’ coverage of the corpses found on Long Island and the ongoing search for a missing woman, we looked at how reporters Joseph Goldstein and Tim Stelloh’s use of “missing prostitute” instead of “missing woman” in their lead sentence subtly casts a non-unbiased view on the article from the get-go, identifying the missing woman by her profession without good reason to do so.

CNN.com also reported on the crimes, using “four dead prostitutes” in their second paragraph prematurely before explaining how police believe the bodies are connected and why the women’s professions need be mentioned.

We are happy to report that CNN.com HAS CHANGED this sentence and it now reads “four corpses”.

Thank you, CNN, for fair coverage of a tragic story as it unfolds, and your prompt remedy of a careless mistake.

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Update: Associated Press released an article by Frank Eltman, who goes hog wild with the word “prostitute,” which FoxNews.com appropriated and elevated to an even higher level of sleaziness by changing its headline to include the word yet one more time where it wasn’t already. Our favorite line, though, is this one:

“The four dead prostitutes were found amid a 4-foot-tall tangle of sea grass punctuated by scrubby pine trees.”

Four dead prostitutes…is that like three blind mice and four calling birds and two turtle doves?? Scrubby pine trees? How many?

You would think the most important part of this whole story is that the women involved sold sex for money, not that there is a serial killer on the loose whose private activities—we’re willing to bet—are gravely more controversial.

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