The Philadelphia Daily News accidentally killed Nelson Mandela on its front page yesterday, according to newspaper blogger Charles Apple. Worst part? Nobody appears to have noticed. Oops.

EDIT: In an update sent to Apple, the managing editor, Pat McLoone, says the page was sent to the Newseum by accident, but the newspaper itself did not have that line on the front. “This unauthorized front page was not printed and did not appear on our websites. We alerted the outlets once we realized the mistake,” he emphasized.

There is the Philadelphia you know and the Philadelphia you will never see. The first summons a cornucopia of familiar images: Benjamin Franklin, Rocky Balboa, cheesesteaks whiz wit.

The second is safely out of view from the cobblestone streets of Society Hill or the brewpubs of Northern Liberties. But if you wander north on Broad Street, well past the alabaster phallus of City Hall, you may glimpse the first hints of that obscure Philadelphia in the emptied husk of the Divine Lorraine Hotel, a sullied spinster with more than a century of stories but nobody to hear them anymore.

Shortly thereafter start the Badlands, North Philadelphia neighborhoods like Kensington, whose row-house lanes were once home to working-class whites whose modestly prosperous lives were circumscribed by the factory, the church, the union hall, the front stoop and the bar.

On a summer Sunday, a trip to Connie Mack Stadium or an outing to the Jersey Shore. Then cue the familiar midcentury forces: minority influx, white flight, factories moving to China, crack, crack babies, the end of welfare as we know it, here at the end of the land, the Philadelphia you will never know.

I drove through the Badlands with Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, two journalists for the Philadelphia Daily News who shared a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and are the authors of Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love.

The book is based on a newspaper series, “Tainted Justice,” that revealed such an astounding degree of corruption among Philadelphia’s drug cops that you would not quite believe it in a Martin Scorsese movie. But your belief, or lack thereof, is irrelevant, because this story is true.

The Streets of Killadelphia

Quick background: Many people were offended by various Mummer’s Parade skits this year. On New Year’s Day, I Storify-ied some of those responses. The next day, Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News attempted to call me out in a sort of jumble of calling anyone who doesn’t agree with Bykofsky’s verdict that anyone offended needs to lighten up/buy a sense of humor, etc.


Between hurling insults, Bykofsky points out that I pointed out that blackface has been outlawed by city policy since 1964. He goes on to mention, for mysterious reasons, that I was not born yet when this ban went into effect. This is true, and all the more reason why I was surprised to see it.

Some will argue there was indeed no blackface in this year’s Mummers Parade because performers did not, technically speaking, exactly copy the 1840s style of blackface makeup with burnt cork and woolly wig. In Ferko’s skit, performers donned the exaggerated white greasepaint lips of blackface minstrels, but didn’t shade the rest of their faces in with black. Though such a rush to strict dictionary definitions warms my heart as a writer, it seemed to me that calling this “not blackface” by way of technicality would be questionable. So I consulted an expert.

Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon is an associate professor of urban theater at Temple University who’s currently working on a book about the history of minstrelsy in Philadelphia, complete with a chapter on the mummers. She actually laughed when I asked her if the lack of black makeup around the lips in the context of the theme meant it wasn’t blackface. “It’s the intent behind the action,” she says. Evoking blackface, she says, is politically fraught—whether you want it to be or not.

Read the full story at Philly Weekly here.

Here’s a gem from behind-the-scenes at Fresh Air. I’ve been reading The Cop Who Would Be King: The Honorable Frank Rizzo, on loan from Fresh Air contributor and veteran local reporter Dave Davies, and learning a lot about the way politics worked in Philadelphia decades ago. When he showed me this Philadelphia Inquirer photo of the former police commissioner and mayor this morning, I couldn’t resist sharing.

Can you spot Dave in this photo from 1987?


Harry and the crew were interviewed by The Daily News last week and on Tuesday, we made the front page!! What a surprise!

If you missed the article, you can still read it here on

Thank you all for your continued support of our film!! We are getting exceedingly closer to our funding goal!

Year one with the Philadelphia Daily News

Hit the one-year mark as a food columnist with the Daily News over the weekend. I’ve learned a ton and met some really interesting people along the way. Here are links to all my columns thus far.

Photos: Alejandro Alvarez, Yong Kim, Stephanie Aaronson

- The debut of Pizza Brain [06sept12]

- Why Cafe Estelle closed [20sept12]

- Josh Kim of SPOT Burger [04oct12]

- The true cost of a cocktail [18oct12]

- David Katz and Terence Feury at Tavro 13 [09nov12]

- John Ihlenfeldt’s Tamale Cart [30nov12]

- Food artist Hawk Krall [07dec12]

- How to spend New Year’s Eve alone [28dec12]

- Navajo tacos from Shiprock [17jan13]

- Metropolitan Bakery opens a cafe [08feb13]

- Peter Woolsey and Laura Frangiosa’s stove exchange [28feb13]

- Jugo Stevcic of Cafe Chismosa [14mar13]

- Staff cook-offs at Sbraga [21mar13]

- In defense of Spam [29mar13]

- "Inauthentic" food at Cheu Noodle Bar [04apr13]

- Cambodian desserts by Koliyan [25apr13]

- Chefs at Wyebrook Farm [23may13]

- Kermit’s Bake Shoppe [06jun13]

- Baklava-making at Manakeesh Cafe [13jun13]

- City farm stand roundup [11jul13]

- Cochon EPIC [01aug13]

- Kati rolls at Spice End [29aug13]

But Rollins wasn’t here to play the way we wanted him to play. He wasn’t here to be an outlet for our post-industrial angst. He told us as much. You are not going to define me, he said. Me is Rickey Henderson, not Steve Van Buren. Me is Tupac, not Springsteen. You can fake the hustle but you can’t fake the game, he said, but don’t think for a damn minute that I don’t have the hustle. You want blue collar? Try working until nightfall at a Clorox plant like Jimmy’s father did. Try taking ground balls on the rock-infested fields of Alameda, Calif.
—  Philadelphia Daily News: Sportsweek's David Murphy
on Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ career and impending free agency

"Fast Eddie’s" Top 10 NBA Players. Our favorite former governor is back at it in his Daily News column today, listing his Top 10 NBA players of all time.

"I really believe my analysis is correct (shockingly, I rarely disagree with myself) but I would be very interested in hearing from you if you feel my top 10 leaves out a worthy player or more than one," says Rendell.

The20’s @meechone clearly can’t hide his mix of excitement and displeasure with the story on Twitter.

Want to weigh in? As always, Rendell is soliciting feedback at


[Philadelphia Daily News, @meechone]

Photo: Getty Images

TODAY’S HEADLINES {Content Updated Daily} | Featured Cities on January 20, 2011 - Madison WI, Tuscaloosa, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix:

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“A radio journalist said to one of the ballers walking by… slow down, I can’t get a shot with this camera … That to me speaks to the pressing need for photojournalists… you can’t hand a camera to a reporter and expect them to make photographs. It is a craft.”

—Photojournalist Sarah Glover, the first Black woman to work as a photographer at Philadelphia Daily News, on her final assignment at the paper. Glover accepted a buyout offer rather than be laid off from the paper, which is letting go of dozens of journalists.

Daily News Headline About Atlantic City Murders: Too Much? “Yo, Philly. Stick It.” That’s in short what the Atlantic City Press wrote in response to a Philadelphia Daily News front page calling Atlantic City a “Tourist Death Trap” after a double-murder Monday outside of the Bally’s casino. The stabbing victims were identified on Wednesday as Po Lin Wan, 80, and Alice Mei See Leung, 47, and their families notified. Antoinette Pelzer, 44, is charged with the crime. She appeared in court on Tuesday and bail was set at $1.5 million.

But the Atlantic City Press fired back at the Daily News with a column Wednesday:

"A “Tourist Death Trap”? 


In words our fellow journalists who designed Tuesday’s front page at the Philadelphia Daily News might use: Yo, Philly. Stick it.

Newspapers, of course, have an obligation to report the news, even and especially when the news is painful and distressing. And The Press of Atlantic City did not shy away from reporting this story in the newspaper and online. But our brethren at the Daily News were over the top – and irresponsible.”

The AC Press column goes on further describe how tourists are rarely a victim of crime in Atlantic City, and then takes on the Daily News further and asks readers to email Daily News editor Larry Platt with further complaints.

The Daily News, of course, is the Daily News - a tabloid known for splashy and even trashy front pages. But calling Atlantic City a “Tourist Death Trap” just as the summer tourist season is about to kick off is not only inaccurate - it’s downright mean-spirited.

Larry Platt is editor of The Daily News. People who care about Atlantic City and know the truth about the city might want to let him know how they feel. His email address is

Interestingly, Daily News casino columnist Chuck Darrow seems to agree with the Press of Atlantic City. On Tuesday, he called out his own employer in a column about the cover and headline:

"Monday’s brutal and random stabbing deaths of two Canadian women in the heart of midtown are being played nationwide (if not worldwide) as just another day in Hell East. A perfect example is the Daily News’ Tuesday front page, which is dominated by the headline, “TOURIST DEATH TRAP.”

This is simply unfair. There is absolutely nothing in this tragedy that identifies it as an only-an-AyCee event. The perpetrator of the heinous crimes, a 44-year-old Philadelphia woman who reportedly suffers from mental illness, could have committed them anywhere—from New York’s Times Square, to the Las Vegas Strip to our own City Hall courtyard. That she did so at Michigan and Pacific avenues in Atlantic City was simply a function of coincidence, random chance, or, if you are so inclined to believe, the fates.”

What do you think? Was the Daily News cover and headline unfair on this story? 


[Philadelphia Daily News, Press of Atlantic CityNBC10, h/t @Romenesko]