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Teen's Tale Dupes N.Y. : Dailies Caught Napping in the City That Never Sleeps

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Teen's Tale Dupes N.Y. : Dailies Caught Napping in the City That Never Sleeps

Article excerpt

In New York, the city that never sleeps, daily newspapers were caught napping this week when a 13-year-old Honduran boy told a tall tale of traveling 4,500 miles through rain, heat, and dangerous waters to find his long-lost father after losing his mother in a hurricane.

The tear-jerker, which landed on the front page of all four daily newspapers June 29, captured the imagination of reporters, editors, and readers as they learned about the boy's father sending him $200 for the journey, during which he reportedly hiked, biked, and swam toward his only surviving parent.

Although some editors admit that they had doubts about the story, most put numerous reporters and photographers on the heart-rending assignment, which led to stories ranging from a priest handing the boy $5 in Miami to patrons of a coffee shop buying him a $109 bus ticket to New York.

"It is a very en-chanting tale," says Stuart Marques, managing editor for news at the New York Post, which assigned four reporters to the story. "You don't want to not believe it."

Marques' rivals at (Long Island-based) Newsday and The New York Times offered similar Page One coverage, while the Daily News went all out with six reporters assigned to the story, photos of a cab driver who helped the boy and the coffee shop where customers donated bus money, and a map detailing his alleged six-week journey. …

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