News of the tragic apparent suicide of a 17-year-0ld Dalton School student this morning -- reported by the Associated Press at 12:22 p.m., and since posted on every major NYC news website -- has yet to appear on the NYT's website at this hour.
Little is yet known about what happened, of course -- the stories that have turned up on the Post, Newsday and Daily News websites don't have much information. There have been scattered details about the time, the circumstances and the shock created by the student's fall into the school playground during the middle of a school day.
But for New Yorkers who turn to nytimes.com for authoritative coverage of local events, the failure of the NYT to post anything at all left readers scrambling to websites with far less news resources.
The failure of the NYT to post a story seems an odd mistake at a time when the paper crows regularly -- and legitimately -- about its wondrous website. The NYTPicker checks the site every five minutes or so, and we doubt we're alone; the combination of wire-service speed and top-quality reporting makes it indispensable for people who want to stay current at all times.
And let's face it; Dalton is an East Side institution that counts thousands of NYT readers among its alumni and family. News of a Dalton suicide is, frankly, of intense interest to its website readership.
For the NYT to have held back its story for tomorrow's print edition seems like the wrong decision to us, and probably to the thousands of readers who've looked at nytimes.com for authoritative coverage of the story this afternoon and evening, in vain.
[UPDATE: No story on the Dalton suicide appeared in the NYT print edition on Thursday. The NYTPicker has emailed metro editor Joe Sexton to hear his reasoning re: the paper's decision not to report the incident.]
[UPDATE: The City Room blog included one paragraph on the Dalton suicide in Sewell Chan's "Morning Buzz" roundup, posted at 9:06 a.m.]