BostonNow: Making, Then Breaking, the News?

BD_trooper.jpgUnder a Herald-on-training-wheels headline, “Cop’s porn star photo op flop” the daily rag BostonNow claims that the Massachusetts State Police is investigating a trooper who posed for a photo with skin-flick legend Ron Jeremy. “The information provided on this incident will be forwarded for review and any corrective action deemed appropriate by our Division of Standards and Training,” the State Police is quoted as saying in the BostonNow story. And who, you might wonder, was the un-credited, offended party who notified the State Police of this moral infraction?

Sure enough, we called the State Police this morning, and Trooper Eric Benson explained that the photo of Ron Jeremy and the trooper “was provided by a media outlet who also requested comment on the photo.” Benson wouldn’t name the outlet, but we can say that the photo is not in the Globe, Herald or Metro.

The story, which runs at 110 words in print, isn’t especially clear about the details of the incident. Its explanation, in full: “The trooper, responding to a drunken driving accident Saturday, posed at the scene in his uniform with porn legend Ron Jeremy.” Was Jeremy the drunk? Was he just nearby, filming a new flick called Roadside Attractions? Tell us, BostonNow!

So, ahem, allow us to do a little reporting and pick up the slack: Jeremy was departing Boston with the crew from the Great Porn Debate, a traveling sparring match between him and anti-porn crusader Pastor Craig Gross, when a drunk driver nearly slammed into their bus on the Mass Pike. The bus stopped, and everyone got out—Jeremy, Gross, three cameramen who were shooting footage for a reality TV show based on the tour, the driver, and so on. According to Gross, much screaming at the drunken driver ensued, and then the state trooper showed up and told everyone to get back on the bus while he investigated the scene. Afterward, Gross said, the trooper entered the bus to jot down all witnesses’ names and contact info, and that’s when he learned Ron Jeremy was on board.

So the trooper—just like every other emergency responder at the scene, who also entered the bus—asked for a photo. Ron ended up signing autographs for them on everything around him, including napkins and paper plates (because the crew was eating pizza just before the accident). “The guy did nothing wrong, really,” Gross said of the trooper. “I’ve been with Ron for seven days. Everybody stops for a photo. It was kind of a spectacle. I’m sure you don’t see a tour bus get in an accident every day, let alone Ron Jeremy pop out of the tour bus.” And who can blame him? Does taking a photo with Ron Jeremy make you a less-effective state trooper?

To mark the wacky occasion, Gross wrote about it on his blog and posted some pics (including the one BostonNow snagged) on his Flickr page. But now the fun’s been ruined. Gross got a stern e-mail from the trooper today, asking that he remove the photo from his site. Gross said he’ll comply, because he never meant to get the guy in trouble.

The BostonNow story was written by James O’Brien, who was once an editor there but not long ago quietly moved down the masthead, to reporter status. And as you might have heard, John Wilpers, the paper’s editor-in-chief, is also moving down the masthead—which makes this in-house ad BostonNow ran on Friday seem all the more pleading.

BD_Bnow.jpgSomeone. Anyone. Please, edit this paper, so it can, you know, Save Journalism.