December 3, 2014

West Side Spirit

Jill Abramson, formerly executive editor at The New York Times, has a longread out in West Side Spirit, a paper that bills itself as “Your local paper for the Upper West Side”.

The 2,900-word article, titled “The Second Tragedy of Traffic Deaths,” examines the impunity of New York City motorists who hit pedestrians. Here’s the nut graf:

The answer is this: If you want to kill someone in New York City and get away with it, the weapon of choice should be a vehicle. It’s the perfect crime. Fewer than 7 percent of the drivers in fatal crashes that kill pedestrians are ticketed and only a tiny fraction, usually only those driving drunk, face any criminal charges.

Before she was fired from The Times earlier this year, Abramson wrote a first-person account of being hit by a delivery truck. In that story, she wrote that some of her colleagues had also been hit by drivers who did not face legal reprisal:

None of the drivers who hit us were charged by the police with any misdoing — significant because part of Mr. de Blasio’s plan is stricter enforcement of traffic laws.

As a note at the bottom of the West Side Spirit story says, Abramson is currently developing a longform journalism startup with Steven Brill. She has given interviews to a few news outlets since she departed the Times, including Cosmopolitan and Re/code and Yahoo.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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