Andrea Peyser has been working as a feature columnist for The New York Post for as long as I can remember. She is younger than I am, but I just can’t remember the newspaper without her. Her job is to write human interest stories, mostly about New Yorkers or things that happen in New York. Most of the time her stories have a bizarre twist that no one else thought of before. Day after day, week after week, she writes stories that are wicked, ruthless, and most of all shocking. When Rupert Murdoch hired her he must have said, “Let them have it. And as long as you keep letting them have it, you have a job here.”
That conversation must have taken place because Andrea has survived many cuts at The New York Post. I don’t know how she keeps generating outrageous copy over and over again. It is exhilarating but exhausting to read. I wonder if she feels the same way every time she finishes a piece. When I mention how much I admire Andrea, I usually get a violent reaction. “She should be ashamed to write that smut,” “It’s a wonder that someone hasn’t broken her fingers,” and “I wonder what her family thinks.”
I know Andrea and she is nothing like her copy. She leads a very quiet, under-the-radar life in Brooklyn, no fancy designer clothes, and no hobnobbing with the almighty. She does the job that The Post gave her and takes the subway home to her husband and daughter. I don’t imagine a very fancy apartment, a luxury car, or famous art work. She is very understated and speaks in a low tone.
However, early this morning, around 4am when I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep, I decided to do some reading on my iPhone. Yes, I read most of my daily newspapers on the iPhone because it is light to hold and easy to navigate. Poof, I get through the NY Times and Wall Street Journal in half an hour just skimming the stories I need for my job. Then I opened The Post. I immediately saw that Andrea hard secured Page One, which meant that she must have written one doozy of a story. I was right.
She slaughtered Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s Today Show. OMG, the shit that she came up with. Most readers will have no idea if she is right or wrong. Columnists express their own opinions and don’t have to get the usual necessary quotes from people to confirm their words. Andrea just blasted away. She blamed him for everything wrong with The Today Show, including the departure of Ann Curry. She also crucified Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast who wrote an admiring story about Matt. She was out for blood. When you finish reading the story you wonder what Matt Lauer could be thinking after she squashed his career like a prune.
What does this have to do with technology? Andrea’s story was forwarded to everyone at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN (Jeff Zucker, formerly of NBC, just took over there), and Bravo. TV talk show contacts were all telling me it was the talk of the broadcast community. The story was also all over Twitter, Facebook, and the entertainment blogs.
I’m sure Rupert Murdoch had a gigantic orgasm. And that Andrea is home making dinner for her family. She will watch her favorite TV show and read before she goes to bed. If I was her, I would have a big smile on my face as I dozed off. There is nothing like a productive copy day on the same old beat.