Stay classy, Sometimes-Picayune
Long time, no post but I just put this up at First Draft, and realized it screamed Humid City and Loki is into screaming:
The geniuses who gave us TP Street and a confusing publication schedule have struck again. This time on the editorial side. There was a lurid story on the front page of Wednesday’s dead tree edition, which claimed to *protect* the identity of one of the story’s protagonists:
A New Orleans taxi driver was arrested Monday after allegedly using his cellphone to record video underneath a woman’s skirt without her permission, then using the footage to try and bribe her.
Hervey Farrell, of Metairie, was arrested near the intersection of Canal and Carondelet streets on Monday about 12:40 p.m. and booked on charges of voyeurism and extortion for reportedly shooting lewd footage of a 32-year-old woman while she was a passenger in his cab in April 2012.
According to an arrest warrant filed in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Farrell reportedly shot video of underneath the woman’s skirt, exposing her underwear and genitals to the camera. The woman told police she had never given Farrell, 38, permission to record her.
Later, the court record states, Farrell sent a copy of the video to the woman’s attorney via email. The message was accompanied by a threat that if he received $1,000, the camera video footage would disappear, court records show.
The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, agreed to speak with NOLA.com |The Times-Picayune on the condition that she keep her anonymity.
A lawyer and the host of a local radio show, the woman calls herself a “public figure” and said she believes it is because of this, in part, that she was taken advantage of. She had openly discussed her local notoriety with the cabdriver before the incident, she said.
“I was intoxicated, I had had too much to drink,” the woman said, “but that doesn’t make it OK for him to have done what he did. What he did to me was criminal, and wrong.”
The story also told us that she was 32 years old and a single mother. (The last detail has been removed from the online version. Holy CYA, Batman.) It took me about 47 seconds to discern her identity with the help of Mr. Google. A friend of mine consulted with Der MS Bingle and figured it out in 72 seconds.
So, the Picayune promised to protect someone’s identity but put so much information in the story that it was easy to figure out who she was. Talk about having it both ways, Advance Media. You promised anonymity to someone but still allowed the commenters on NOLA.com to engage in an orgy of sermonizing and slut shaming.
I wonder if Advance still has “content editors” because this story obviously needed some editing and source protecting. That’s how a “robust” news organization would have handled a story like this.
Another disappointing thing about this debacle is that the story was reported by a woman, Helen Freund. She seems to be a Picayune newbie since her first “post” on NOLA. com is dated 11/7/2012. Baby reporters used to have training and supervision but who knows how it rolls at the Sometimes-Picayune in the dogs days of 2013. Obviously, Helen was no freund to her source…
Finally, repeat after me: Hervey rhymes with Pervy.
That is all.
- AP joins bid to unseal court records (miamiherald.com)