Monday, November 23, 2009

Writer Suzy Buckley Uses NYT's "T" Travel Section To Praise Restaurant Owned By Her Old Boyfriend -- An Accused Fetus Killer.

The NYT Magazine's "T" Travel section isn't exactly where you look for tough investigative reporting -- especially when writing about Miami tourism as it did yesterday in an issue paid for, in part, by a huge advertising supplement about Florida tourism.

But its writers probably shouldn't be promoting business ventures owned by their old boyfriends -- especially ones recently arrested for killing a 13-week-old unborn fetus.

But that didn't stop the NYT from publishing freelance writer Suzy Buckley's five-page spread on Miami nightlife, leading off with her recommendation -- prominently displayed with a photo on the feature's front page, in an attractive time-clock design -- to try the popular South Beach burger joint co-owned by Josh Woodward, until recently her boyfriend:

2 p.m.: Have a grass-fed beef burger topped with Bel Paese cheese and a Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale at 8 oz. Burger Bar. 1080 Alton Road; (305) 397-8246;

Woodward and Buckley broke up just recently -- apparently right before October 29, when the Miami Herald reported that the restaurateur had been taken into Miami police custody on charges in connection with the death of a 13-week-old fetus, reportedly his child. The Herald later reported that Woodward had been charged with murder.

The Herald's story said that Woodward "was suspected of placing an unspecified powder in the pregnant woman's vaginal area," causing a miscarriage.

While the police didn't reveal the name of the pregnant woman, the Herald noted that "the only girlfriend most people associated Woodward with was Miami writer Suzy Buckley." The two were widely reported to be in a relationship, which was repeatedly referenced in society columns.

At the time of Woodward's arrest, Buckley denied being the mother involved in the miscarriage. Sort of. But not really!

"We were planning to get engaged soon and married,'' Buckley told the Herald. "We had a long, incredible and beautiful relationship, and he is loved and respected by so many people in the Miami community. These extensive allegations are obviously outlandish, but I have -- understandably -- ended the relationship.''

The whole sordid situation didn't stop Buckley from promoting Woodward's restaurant in this past Sunday's NYT -- alongside numerous plugs for other local businesses.

Buckley is a frequent fashion and travel writer in Miami. In one website bio, published alongside a fashion column that appears on the website of "The Starter Wife," the USA TV series, Buckley is identified as "a fashion writer and television personality" who appears regularly on E! Entertainment, is the lifestyle editor of Ocean Drive, and writes for multiple magazines and guidebooks.

Buckley "is often found traveling to exciting global destinations," her bio reports.

Buckley's reporting on her boyfriend's burger joint is, of course, a direct violation of the NYT ethics policy, which clearly states:

No journalist may report for us about any travel service or product offered by a family member or close friend.

The NYT has been policing such conflicts rigorously of late, having fired the Styles section's Critical Shopper columnist Mike Albo for accepting free travel on a JetBlue/Thrillist junket -- even though he wrote nothing for the NYT on anything connected with the trip.

At the same time, the NYT has applied a different set of rules and standards to David Pogue, its popular freelance tech columnist, who accepts travel, speaking fees and expenses from corporations the NYT covers, on a regular basis.

We've contacted the NYT public-relations department for comment, and will update if/when they respond.


amanda bee said...

Fetus murder? Is that actually a distinct crime in the state of Florida? It seems to me that assaulting a woman, chemically or otherwise, so severely that she miscarries is a sufficiently violent act that you don't need a whole special category for the fetus.

Roberto said...

"We've contacted the NYT public-relations department for comment, and will update if/when they respond."

I'm trying to imagine how pleased the public relations department was at the prospect of fielding questions about the ethics of freelancers publishing shout-outs to burger-flipping fetus killers.

[Sound of pages being flipped in media relations handbook.] "Which page is that?" said...

it very useful
u r blog Is very nice

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was you, maybe it was independent reporting [ha!] but this story landed in the Post on Page Six today ...

brett.peace said...

you are on gawker as well

Anonymous said...

Pardon this buzzkill y'all, but
the bloguepost on buckley's takes the art of dying well to a whole new height: Undermining the gestation chamber, the incubator, the vessel, the creator, the host, the cruel joke that was the clothes hanger, all just to wambam thanQ Ma'am while waiting for an update from a moody pr officeworker.

R said...

Dear Pickers,

I'm an avid reader of your blog and find it sometimes amusing. However, your site promises to be "A DAILY LOOK INSIDE THE NEWSPAPER OF RECORD", but on the first page, I can only see entries for Nov 23, Nov 19, Nov 16, Nov 14, Nov 13, Nov 12, Nov 9, Nov 6, Nov 4...

Am I to understand that you do look at the NYT every day, but just don't write about it?

Also, I was going to send a link of your Nov 25 entry to a friend but I can't find it anywhere anymore. Oh well, I can always copy and paste it from my RSS reader, so it' s not a big deal.

Keep up the good work!

thereyago said...

I understood the reason for mentioning the conflict of interest about the mention of the restaurant. The fetus killing angle was completely tasteless and didn't seem to have much basis except to shock and speculate.

Anonymous said...

you should hear some really dirty stories about Suzy Buckley. This is not unusual compared to what unsavory things she has done in the past on her own...