‘Daredevil’ editor says mob stories sell papers like ‘dick, with a side of who-gives-a-shit’

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New York Bulletin investigative reporter Ben Urich just wants to cover the mob

Romenesko reader Ben Mook tipped me off to the reporter-editor exchange below in the third episode of “Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix.

“There’s this back-and-forth dialogue about pursuing a big-scale investigation into organized crime as opposed to recycling a story about the new subway line color should be because it moves copies,” Mook writes. “It seems like someone, a la ‘The Wire,’ is getting some digs in about the state of traditional newspaper journalism.”

NEW YORK BULLETIN EDITOR (ELLISON): Got a minute? Talk about next week’s spread?

REPORTER BEN URICH: Already working on it.

EDITOR: Another organized crime thing?

REPORTER: All of Hell’s Kitchen. There’s a new player on the scene. No one knows who it is, or what they want. Everybody’s scrambling.

EDITOR: Your assignment is the City Desk, Ben.

REPORTER: This is the city. No one else is on this yet. I’m the only one who sees it.

EDITOR: It’s not sexy.

REPORTER: We’re a newspaper, Ellison, not a girlie mag.

EDITOR: You know that’s not what I meant – and nobody calls them that anymore./CONTINUES

REPORTER: This is not just the Russians. I think maybe the Union Allied scandal might tie into this.

EDITOR: And you remember what that expose did for circulation? Dick – with a side of who-gives-a-shit.

REPORTER: This is a real story.

The editor says mob stories no longer sell papers

The editor says mob stories no longer sell papers

EDITOR: Yeah, and it’s going to end the same it always does: A bunch of fat old guys in some white collar prison with more fat old guys.

REPORTER: The cops aren’t even on this yet. We could be the ones to connect the dots.

EDITOR: It doesn’t sell papers, Ben! Not anymore. I want you on the subway line piece.

REPORTER: [Mocking tone} Rumors bubbling! Will Hell’s Kitchen finally get a subway line? Come on; we tell that every year!

EDITOR: And every year it kills.

REPORTER: For a fluff piece.

EDITOR: You know, you like to be on the ground; you like to talk to people. Take a poll. What color do they like? You know, we’ve got a blue line, we got a yellow line – we’re running out of colors.

REPORTER: Like M&Ms?

EDITOR: Yeah, see? Write the hell out of it.

REPORTER: There used to be a time when the people in this building wrote the hell out of the news.

EDITOR: Everybody we know is making twice what we are writing for blogs, working from home in their underwear. We’re hanging on by our fingertips, Ben. You really want to be greasing that ledge?

* Listen to the editor-reporter argument (about 2 minutes) (soundcloud.com)

New: A reporter with his own office? Come on now! (facebook.com)


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