Interesting timing of elephant stories in two Northwest papers

Letter to Romenesko

From BEN BOTKIN: Here’s a case of interesting timing of stories for Northwest readers of The Oregonian and the Seattle Times.

The Oregonian ran a heartwarming feature about the Friday birth of a baby elephant at the Oregon Zoo in its Saturday edition. (It appeared online on Friday.)

By sheer coincidence, the Seattle Times launched a two-part series over the weekend about elephants dying out American zoos. The lede of its first story told about the 1962 birth of a baby elephant at — you guessed it — the Oregon Zoo.

If you check the comments section of The Oregonian, readers picked up on the irony too. The good news is that the coincidence probably cannot be credited to PR people doing damage control in advance of the Seattle Times piece running. After all, they don’t have any say over when elephants go into labor.

By the way, I don’t work at either one of those newspapers.

* Adorable elephant born at the Oregon Zoo (
* Elephants are dying out in America’s zoos (

UPDATE: “The Seattle Times-Oregonian elephant story gets better,” a Times staffer emails. “Check this out.” [The story is headlined, “Portland’s baby elephant belongs to traveling show.”] || UPDATE II: An Oregonian staffer suggests I counter with this link.