New York Times Celebrates Itself as Chaos Unfolds in Boston

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 15 2013 6:03 PM

Bombs in Boston: The NYT Celebrates Its Pulitzers

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Screenshot of the New York Times as news of Pulitzer wins was announced.

At least two newsworthy events happened on Monday afternoon. 1) There were huge, deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon. 2) The Pulizer Prizes were announced.

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At around 2:50 p.m. EST, eyewitnesses began tweeting about the explosions and sharing pictures on Twitter.* News organizations rushed to find out what was going on. Twenty-four minutes later, the New York Times issued a breaking news tweet, splashed a breaking-news banner across its homepage, and sent a push notification to mobile devices. But the Times’ newsflash wasn’t about the carnage in Boston: It was about its four Pulitzer Prize wins.

The Times’ Twitter feed gives some insight into how they were weighing the importance of the two news events, including a celebratory photo:

Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 3.29.30 PM_1

Perhaps the Times had second thoughts about their jubilation, because the third Pulitizer-related tweet appears to have now been deleted.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time in recent years that the news media has been caught celebrating ourselves rather than covering crucial news. In 2010, all three cable news channels covered the White House Correspondent’s Dinner rather than the Times Square bombing plot that was foiled during the event.

Correction, April 15, 2013: This post originally misstated the time eyewitnesses began tweeting about the explosions.

Katherine Goldstein is the editor of Vanity Fair's website, VF.com. Follow her on Twitter.