Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike Also Causes Chaos Among N.Y. Media

Newspapers Left Waiting At The Station
When transit union chief Roger Toussaint broke the news at 3:04 a.m. that his 34,000 members would hit the picket lines, TV stations and all-news radio were ready and waiting with blanket coverage for how 7 million commuters would have their lives altered this morning.
Most did a workmanlike job, with a few bumps along the road. More on that in a minute. The real losers: the city's newspapers, which had all gone to bed by the time the strike officially began.
That left the Web, and may have given editors a front seat on how they may be covering news in the future as they fight an increasingly difficult battle to remain relevant. How did they fare?
The Times has a piece on how people coped trying to get to work, featuring none other than Ed Koch, who had the dubious privilege of being mayor for the last transit strike 25 years ago.
Aside from a cute headline, "Our shoes are made for walkin', after union MTA stop talkin'," the Daily News stuck with just a single story making note of the strike but is not providing any real-time updates.
Pretty much the same thing at the Post, whose front page shrieks "Transit Chaos" above a single deck "STRIKE!"
Most of Newsday's city readership is in Queens, which had a head start on the strike Monday when union members for two private bus lines walked out. Besides some info from this morning in the main story, the Web site also has a blog to provide some slices of life as people attempted something, anything, to maintain some semblance of normal.
Over at the arch-conservative, otherwise inconsequential New York Sun, its home page featured a full-length photo of leather-jacketed, jean-wearing Mayor Mike Bloomberg showing his boots were made for walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
And, of course, the Sun weighed in with an editorial predictable for its anti-union hysteria and then for some godforsaken reason advancing the notion of privatizing the transit system. Folks in Britain, where the rail service was broken into pieces and subsequently fell apart, no doubt would have a few guffaws over that.

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