The scoop is another scion of the competitive news mindset. There are two kinds of scoops:
1. The exclusive.
Uncovering a unique story through enterprise; something that probably would otherwise have gone unreported. These scoops are great for everyone. Exclusives broaden the universe of topics covered in the news, and so can enrich public discourse.
2. Being first.
Disseminating news of an issue or event before any other news outlet. The classic case is the frenzy among major news orgs to be the “first to call” a presidential election. But it can also mean being the first to report on a polluted site, or a lawsuit, or any definable newsworthy issue. This distinction, I’d argue, has not only ceased to be meaningful—most of the time it’s an outright red herring that damages the quality of news and ill-serves audiences.
Jose Antonio Vargas did approach us with this idea some time ago, and I worked with him on the story for some weeks, with the intention of running it in Outlook. In the end, a decision was made here to pass on it. I’m delighted that the author found such a great home for the piece in the Sunday Magazine at The Times — certainly a fine second choice after The Washington Post Outlook section.
Message from Carlos Lozada, the editor of The Washington Post’s “Outlook” section to Chris Suellentrop, Story Editor, The New York Times Magazine, regarding the publication of Pulitzer-Winner Jose Antonio Vargas’ coming out story as an illegal immigrant in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.
Chris Seullentrap, New York Times, My (Legal) Editor’s Dream.