Friday, November 28, 2008


The terrorist attacks in Mumbai are still very much an ongoing thing as I write this, and admittedly this is a bit beside the point, but I'm fascinated--well, disgusted, actually--by how The New York Times is handling their coverage of the story: The front page of their website breathlessly informs us that reporter Keith Bradsher is sending regular updates via his BlackBerry.

All well and good, but why do we need to know how Bradsher is filing these stories? I realize BlackBerry is kind of line Kleenex and Xerox in the pantheon of brand names that people use to describe generic objects, but the use of the brand name seems a little questionable. If the stories had been sent by fax or teletype, would The Times be using brand names?

If not, why are they now? Isn't it enough to say he's sending updates? Do we have to turn breaking news into product placement?