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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

StlToday.com Peddles Pussy with "Swimsuit Gallery"; Just Don't Call it That!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 8:21 AM

It's easy to accuse the editors of the Post-Dispatch's website of being a bit prudish, especially after last month's episode when stltoday.com editor Kurt Greenbaum cost a reader his job for posting the word "pussy" to the paper's website.

But to think of the stltoday's editors as overtly puritan would be a mistake. After all, they're the ones who agreed to publish a decidedly lad-mag feature called "Swimsuit Gallery of the Day."

For the past few days the post -- which features a new scantily clad model each day -- has been one of the most-viewed pages on the website.
A screen capture from yesterday -- Monday, Dec. 7 - STLTODAY.COM
  • stltoday.com
  • A screen capture from yesterday -- Monday, Dec. 7

So how does the Swimsuit Gallery (shown below) jibe with the Post-Dispatch's editorial policy?

STLTODAY.COM
  • stltoday.com
Stltoday.com editor Bob Rose explains the swimsuit feature thusly:
We've been running the swimsuit models on the site since February. It was part of a service provided by 3rd-party content provider TinBu. They've also provided us with a gossip page, local gas prices, lottery, horoscope, recipes, soccer standings, Sudoku and airport flight tracking information. We didn't have to run any of these features, but looked at them all as additional content, at no extra charge, that some customers might like. The swimsuit feature can be racy on some days, but it's no racier than the ads you might see on one of the pages of your newspaper. In some ways it's like the betting line or horoscopes that have long been part of newspaper tradition -- we don't embrace them as a core part of the coverage, but we know that different content has different audiences.
Rose adds that the page didn't become popular until the week of Thanksgiving when the paper highlighted TinBu's flight tracking feature that also included a link to the bikini page.

The editor's explanation, meanwhile, did little to appease one suspicious stltoday.com reader, who left the following note on the paper's website:
is the whole swimsuit models thing really just a trap to draw people in and then once they click on it, you contact their bosses and tell them they've been looking at scantily clad ladies? are you going to look at my IP address now and try to get me in trouble for writing this comment?

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