The Times' Surprising Celebrity CoverageS

Predictably, both TMZ and the New York Post's Pagesix.com are claiming exclusives on news of the apparent suicide of Heath Ledger. The New York Post's boast is rather marred by the borked timestamp on their web story, which was 4.41am, a full eleven hours before the death of the 28-year-old Australian actor. (Update: Perez Hilton claims an exclusive even though the purple-haired blogger was an hour late to the story.) But the earliest report we found was a rumor on Radar magazine's Fresh Intelligence blog, courtesy of Alex Balk, about five minutes before TMZ and Pagesix.com. And the most impressive coverage has been the New York Times' City Room blog, which had the news early, and quickly gave it texture, with recent quotes from the young actor, hinting at his depression. The Gray Lady has long refused to cover celebrity news, except in the most indirect of ways, despite the appetite of the reading public; online, at least, the Times has surrendered.