Coney Island Polar Bear Club follow up

It looks like the New York Times didn’t report the full story. I believed them when they wrote that only eight members showed up and “Louis Scarcella, 55, a former homicide detective and president of the Coney Island club, said the weather has been so mild that he is considering canceling the group’s winter swimming season, which usually runs from November to April. A club season has not been canceled since the group was founded 104 years ago.” Sad news, if true. The reporter didn’t even say whether or not they went for a swim.

The New York Post suggests that hundreds showed up. In typical fashion, their headline blared “Polar Bear Club Dip a Pain in the Neck.” It’s a story about an unfortunate polar bear’s headfirst plunge into a wave.

“January 2, 2007 — A Manhattan thrill-seeker was rushed to a hospital with a neck injury after he jumped head-first into a big wave during the annual Polar Plunge at Coney Island yesterday.

Mohan Seneviratne, 32, was in stable condition last night at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, said hospital spokesman Neal Gorman. Seneviratne, who works for a publishing company, is not a member of the Polar Bear Club, but was taking part in its 104th annual New Year’s Day dip.”

My question is simple. What is the news that’s fit to print? A story that underreports the number of participants and fails to say whether or not they went for a swim, or a story that paints a very different picture of the number of participants and adds a tragic human interest angle?

All the news that’s fit to print? I don’t think so.


One Response to “Coney Island Polar Bear Club follow up”

  1. kim Says:

    We were appalled at that headline and story about our wonderuful friend, Mohan. It was flippant and terrible. He was terribly injured and died two days later. He was not a thrill-seeker, rather a wonderful, careful, athletic, talented person, who we heard, just wanted to start the New Year off in a different sort of way.

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