The Feb. 25 rape and killing of Imette St. Guillen, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice student, has sent the New York tabloids into their characteristic frenzy of sensational reporting and shrieking headlines, all but shoving aside most other human concerns, says the Baltimore Sun. In an age when newspapers are struggling to hold on to their dwindling readers and to remain relevant amid instantaneous Internet access and 24-hour cable news, the St. Guillen murder is typical of the stories that daily tabloids believe they do best and keep readers coming back for more.
“Beast May Strike Again,” the New York Daily News warned last week. The New York Post breathlessly reported that several of St. Guillen’s fingernails were ripped, iand Newsday blared “Slain Student May Have Been Gang-Raped.” “Not to be crass, but the fact that she was an attractive young brunette, a grad student here in New York, from a prestigious Boston school before that, obviously all that didn’t hurt the story,” said Dean Chang, metro editor of the Daily News. “Add to that the fact that there was no immediate witness, no immediate clues and no immediate suspect, all of that, especially in New York, tends to create a feeding frenzy in the media.”