From Muckraking to Mudslinging: N.Y. ‘Daily News’ Scores 2 Scoops

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By: Joe Strupp

Sometimes a hot, exclusive story just lands in your lap. For Sunday’s New York Daily News, it happened twice.

In the same edition, the Daily News broke two of the biggest and most salacious national stories of the new week. First, there were revelations from Jose Canseco’s forthcoming book of alleged steroid use by numerous baseball players. And there were also previously unpublished photos of female soldiers stationed in Iraq mud-wrestling at a military prison.

Both stories were quickly followed by other media outlets, as well as the Daily News itself, which published follow-up stories on each today. The News published eight of the 30 mudwrestling and breast-baring photos on Sunday, and it ran three more today. Others, staff writer Brian Kates told E&P, “we wouldn’t show in a family newspaper.”

The most interesting thing about the scoops, other than the news itself, was that both came from sources who approached the newspaper with their information. “If you become a dominant voice in the market, people come to you with those stories,” Senior Managing Editor Bill Boyle said about the sourcing.

When asked who leaked the mud-wrestling photos, Boyle said only “it is a source that came to us, a concerned reader who had military connections and had some concerned views about what took place.”

On the Canseco book source, he said, “It was a source who came to the paper, but not [a source] in publishing.” Questioned by E&P, Boyle wouldn’t specify whether the News received an early copy of the Canseco book or simply a manuscript or a summary or some other form.

The News reported yesterday that in Canseco’s forthcoming book, “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big,” which will be published by Regan Books Feb. 21, the former all-star accuses several current and former players of injecting illegal steroids into their bodies. (Unfortunately, in this case, the paper got no photos.)

When asked if the leak prompted any kind of angry reaction from Canseco or his publisher (who is planning a big “60 Minutes” exclusive), Boyle declined comment. Calls to Regan Books were not immediately returned today.

Only 11 of the 30 photos mudwrestling photos have been published because many of them were similar and some were deemed offensive, Boyle and Kates said.

Boyle said the paper may publish more of them in he future. He said editors did not consider placing any on the paper’s web site, as The Washington Post did with its now-famous photos of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.

“That is something we can talk about,” Boyle said of an online option. “It is something we hadn?t discussed.”

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