The age of the internet has made keeping secrets about exciting developments in pop culture nearly impossible, though sometimes spoilers for highly-anticipated reveals emerge in unexpected ways. Most recently, The New York Times revealed a key element of the upcoming marriage between Batman and Catwoman, immediately igniting ire towards the publication. In the wake of the bad press, the outlet is now asking advice on how to report on similar events in the future.
Hitting shelves on Wednesday is Batman #50, which is set to be a defining moment in the Dark Knight's lore. Over the weekend, The New York Times shared a piece which essentially outlined the fate of the relationship and offered minute details about how the issue played out. Additionally, the article's headline gave away the ending without having to read the story itself.
"What responsibility, if any, do journalists have not to spoil plots for our readers? What is the role of a headline or news alert for a story that contains such a secret?" The Times questions.
The goal of the original article wasn't meant to give away the ending to intentionally spoil the surprise, but wanted to shed light on the nearly 80-year history between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. In some ways, this made the article even more disappointing, as fans have waited decades to get answers about the couple's tumultuous relationship.
"We heard the criticism, and we’re hoping to open this up for a wider discussion with our readers. Do you have questions for [writer] George [Gene Gustines] or LeAnn Wilcox, an editor in Styles, about the feature or the headline?" the outlet asks. "How do you think pieces that contain spoilers should be handled by news organizations? Did you enjoy hearing the Batman-Catwoman news days early?"
Throughout the paper's more than 160-year legacy, it has prided itself on delivering readers late-breaking news, finding itself in an interesting situation when their attempts to convey factual information resulted in the "spoiling" of a plot point. Complicating matters further is that, rather than a passing message that hinted at the issue's final moments, the events of the story were laid out explicitly.
Finding the balance between delivering news while not spoiling a piece of fiction can be difficult to navigate, as any film-related website could tell you, with this most recent occurrence bringing a new and unexpected response to the prestigious organization.
You can find out what happens in Batman #50 when it hits stores on Wednesday.2comments
What would your advice be to The New York Times? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T The New York Times]