Updated, 2:20 p.m., 12/9/11: I added a bit about Failed Messiah’s piece on the story.
On Wednesday, New Voices broke the news that the YU Beacon, a student newspaper at Yeshiva University was in hot water over an anonymous article about a sexual encounter.
Then The Jewish Daily Forward‘s Sisterhood blog had a short post about it.
We updated you later that day with news that the Beacon was cutting its financial ties with YU.
Then it became clear that this story was not merely of interest to people — like us — who care about Jewish college students. Beacon Co-Editor-in-Chief (and New Voices blogger) Simi Lampert told me that the Wall Street Journal had called her.
Pretty soon, Fox News had a little report on it.
Right after that, we published our full story.
Then things really went nuts. Once the Wall Street Journal had it, the New York Times mentioned it in a blog post, the Daily Mail had an article and then Haaretz came in, riding the Mail’s coat-tails. Lampert just told me that the Daily News is calling her now.
The Gothamist, however, wins the award for most pointed commentary on the matter:
It’s about her conflicting feelings during and after a hotel room romp with another Orthodox Jew (who kindly removes his Yamurkle pre-coitus, to her relief). Here’s a steamy expert [sic] of the essay that has sparked outrage in the Orthodox community:
[Then there's an excerpt, obviously.]
Whooooo, we’re gonna need a cold shower when we get home tonight (and maybe a sexy Shabbos Goy to “turn on the faucet,” if you know what we mean).
(Ilya Kontorovich probably wins with the comment: “I’m sorry, this is just not appropriate. ‘Bra’? ‘Pleasure’? ‘TOUCHING’? If I wanted to watch porn, I’d go on the internet…”) Of course, the Beacon did lose the $500 funding from the school, but they can easily make that up with some hot American Apparel banner ads!
You getting this, Lampert? I think the Gothamist is onto something with those American Apparel ads.
Failed Messiah, the muckraking Orthodox blog-rag par excellence, couldn’t stay away from this story for long. And Failed Messiah was the only one to credit New Voices with breaking the story:
Based on the New Voices tally of Facebook likes and dislikes and past history, I’d think those masses of students were really equally split between supporting the Beacon and opposing it, and the student council really was doing the will of YU’s rabbis and the administration that kowtows to them. (By the way, New Voices broke this story and, typically, got no credit for it – Rupert Murdock’s Fox News and WSJ did pieces clearly based on New Voices’ reporting but did not cite New Voices and acted as if they had broken the story instead.)
I commented on the post:
Thanks for giving credit where credit is due!
By the way, as much as I’d love to accuse Fox and WSJ of being cheaters, there’s a YU student doing an internship at Fox and (as I noted here: http://blog.newvoices.org/?p=10102) the WSJ was on the scent pretty early on. They were already working on the story before we published our full report.
But you’re right. We did break the story!
Anyway, the unfortunate thing that has now become clear is that Lampert’s co-editor-in-chief, Toviah Moldwin decided to resign over this. In a letter to Beacon readers, he writes:
This being said, I have experienced a great deal of internal conflict about the many editorial dilemmas with which I am confronted on a regular basis as an editor of a publication of this nature, especially when I see both sides of an issue, and recent events have amplified these difficulties significantly. The publicity surrounding this incident was a result I neither desired nor anticipated, and I fear that some of this publicity may have put YU in a negative light. I have thus become uncomfortable remaining at the forefront of The Beacon, though I still firmly believe in The Beacon’s mission of promoting dialogue within the university community.