The Story of the Day

Here it sits, tempting, at the bottom left-hand corner of The (stately) New York Times:

A picture of a black dog in a frilly bedroom sniffing out bedbugs for money. The dog's name is Jada and the Times says "she commands hundreds of dollars an hour at some of Manhattan's most exclusive hotels and apartment buildings."

Now understand, dear reader, (to paraphrase Day To Day's Alex Chadwick) all news organizations are story-eating monsters. Especially broadcasters, who must fill the daily hours no matter how little's going on. And everyone borrows from everyone. An original NPR story might well turn up in a major newspaper after a week or so. And we certainly find inspiration on the news pages. But the bedbug story is troublesome.

The Times dutifully expands the lead to write about dogs sniffing out pirated DVDs, invasive weeds, mold... but it circles back around to the bedbugs. And how do you put this story on the radio? You credit the NYT and talk to some of the sources, or you interview the reporter (Jennifer 8. Lee). I don't think that's going to happen on any of the NPR programs. Plus, bedbugs are icky.

But stories like this tend to hide away in the dark. Perhaps it will resurface on a slower news day?



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