August 26th, 2009


Senator Ted Kennedy, 77

The kids had us up feeding them at 2:30 this morning and by chance I turned on my iPhone, only to discover that Ted Kennedy, one of my senators, had died early this morning.

I never met Kennedy although I saw him from afar once at a rally. But Nomi told me a story once about how responsive Kennedy was to his constituents. If I recall the story correctly, Nomi's mother was working with a group fighting to get the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, and Kennedy spent an hour with them in his office, listening to their concerns.

It is hard to believe he is gone. Someone will succeed him, but no one can replace him.

Stop the Presses!

Nomi and I get both the New York Times and the Boston Globe delivered every day except Sunday, and given the lateness of the news reports about Senator Kennedy last night, I wasn't expecting either paper to have the story of his passing.

Indeed, the New York Times had nothing about Kennedy. But the Globe managed to put the news on their front page, with a large banner headline. Via Universal Hub I found the article Globe Stops the Press for Kennedy Death at the Editor and Publisher magazine website. Apparently the first two editions of the paper had already been printed when editor Martin Baron was woken with the news, and he gave that famous clichéd order to stop the presses so they could include the obituary, which presumably was already set to go.

Nice work, Mr. Baron, and kudos to the night crew.

I'm a little less impressed with the Times, but not for the reason you might think. I find it perfectly understandable that they wouldn't have the news in the hard copy today, and I think it's fine that they're running it on the front page of their website. However, they're also running a link to the article from their "Today's Paper" webpage. Given the fluid nature of the web, I rely on that page to be something of a "snapshot" of the actual hard copy for the day. I think of it as an unchanging daily archive of the articles that the Times ran in that day's paper. So I'm disappointed that they would place a link to the article about Kennedy on that page under the heading THE FRONT PAGE, as if it actually appeared in today's paper. I've written to the Public Editor to express my disappointment.