New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg made an appearance in Quora, the smart person’s Yahoo Answers, last week to lend his first-hand knowledge to the following query: “What is the cheapest, legal thing a person could do to get front page coverage in the New York Times?”
Read on, publicists and fame-seekers!
Mr. Duhigg wrote:
1. Call me up and in a whispered, gravelly voice say something like “I have evidence that the President of the United States hired people to break into the campaign offices of the opposition party.” Then, hang up really fast. (Note: must actually have evidence to get on the front page.)
2. Take all of your money out of the bank. Throw said money on the carpet. Take off all of your clothing and lie down on said carpet. Take a full body photo of yourself with your cell phone, and send it to me and/or a 22 year-old intern. (Note: must be member of Congress.)
3. Tell New Yorkers that, if they want to drink 12 gallons of soda in one sitting, they need to order it in three separate containers. Wait for predictable outrage from people who compare said proposal to “1984.” (Note: must be mayor of New York.)
4. Get a huge tattoo that reads “The New York Times” across your chest. (Note: not likely to actually get you on the front page, but will definitely get you a free drink the next time we’re in a bar together.)
5. Email me a brief synopsis of why whatever you want to get on the front page of The New York Times should be on the front page of The New York Times. If possible, include a description of why what you are describing is new and reflects a broad trend with important implications. Further, if possible, tailor said email to topics I have previously written about. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Note: not guaranteed to work – but you would be surprised how often great articles start this way. Really: we get emails all the time from people that become front page articles. We like getting well-written, interesting emails as much as the next person. Particularly from naked legislators.)
Very charming, but a word of warning about number 4: The writer/journalist/Internet personality The Fat Jew got New York magazine’s logo tattooed on his chest and all he got was this Daily Intel post.