New York Times political editor Carolyn Ryan spent part of her Sunday evening attempting to pump up readers about an “unusual, groundbreaking” story on the way, but it was the Las Vegas Sun that actually broke the news.
Ryan updated her Twitter account several times to notify her followers when they could expect the story — Andrea Elliot’s feature on homeless children living in New York — but eventually declared it would not arrive until Monday morning. The Las Vegas Sun decided otherwise, however, and published the piece titled “Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life” in its entirety around 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The story was eventually pulled from the Sun’s site by midnight, and the outlet revealed in a Facebook apology that it accidentally broke the embargo.
“Due to a technical problem, the Las Vegas Sun prematurely published a New York Times News Service story Sunday on the Sun’s website,” the post reads. “The problem occurred when a new wire feed that the Sun implemented last week failed to recognize that the story was embargoed for publication at a later time. The Sun has pulled the story from its site and apologizes for this inadvertent error. Sun staff members are working on the feed to ensure similar problems do not occur in the future.”
Ryan has been silent on the broken embargo, but tweets teasing the piece led to media mockery under the Twitter hashtag #nytguesses.
“There’s a very unusual, groundbreaking NYT story coming 2nite. I can’t say too much but it’ll make u rethink- well, I should stop. Stay tuned,” Ryan tweeted. “What I mean is that it is a stunning story. And may change things.”
Guesses from her followers included “alien life,” “Miss Piggy finally expecting Kermit’s spawn,” and “pro wrestling is real,” while the hashtag inspired a steady stream of more snark from observers.
All jokes aside, those who actually read the story have been encouraging others to read Elliot’s profile of an 11-year-old homeless girl living among 280 children at the Auburn Family Residence — a city-run shelter described as “decrepit.”
“#nytguesses was fun, but Andrea Elliot’s piece is great journalism and a call to conscience for all New Yorkers,” New York Magazine pop music critic Jody Rosen tweeted.
“PBS NewsHour” anchor Gwen Ifill wrote: “Hope everyone who played on #nytguesses last night actually reads this amazing story.”