Metro: North Philly teen who duct-taped cat has background of violence

Sticky, who was wrapped in duct tape, is doing fine. Photo: RIKARD LARMA/METRO
Sticky, who was wrapped in duct tape, is doing fine. Photo: RIKARD LARMA/METRO

I had two stories and a couple briefs in today’s Metro, including news of the arrest of a teenager who allegedly duct-taped a tabby cat now dubbed Sticky.

The North Philadelphia teenager who was arrested for allegedly wrapping a cat in duct tape lost both his father and brother to street violence in the last two years, said the Pennsylvania SPCA’s chief law enforcement officer.

Read the rest here.

We were searching for a fresh angle on this story, which has received widespread attention. AP’s coverage made it national, being picked up by the Washington Post to name just one. TV news followed it closely too — of course they did because it involves a cute animal — including an in-house appearance by the cat Sticky on the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia, which you can see below, in addition to how the story was reported.

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A loose steer makes for a great test of local news coverage

Phillipsburg Patrolman Kevin Cyphers attempts to corral the bull Wednesday night after it first got loose. Express-Times File Photo | TIM WYNKOOP
Phillipsburg Patrolman Kevin Cyphers attempts to corral the bull Wednesday night after it first got loose. Express-Times File Photo | TIM WYNKOOP

When local news is at its best, it delivers coverage no one else on the planet it can. So, it’s important to take it seriously.

A friend revisited with me a story from northeastern Pennsylvania earlier this year that exemplified it wonderfully: a steer gets loose from a pen the night before a high school agricultural fair. For more than two days it runs wild. The local press, highlighted by the Easton Express-Times and then the Morning Call when it got particularly ridiculous, chased the high school teachers — friends of mine — and the students and administrators as they chased the steer.

It made great, fun, well-followed news. If lessons can be made from when news outlets make mistakes, they can certainly be made from their triumphs. And, livestock or not, this was a triumph. Follow the news feed from that magical May week and what seemed to work.

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Inquirer: Dogs call for a neighborhood in change

At Orianna Hill Park in Northern Liberties, Basil is petted by owners Lisa Lee, center, and Scott Nealy as Marie Barnes watches. As the neighborhood has become trendier, the pets have proliferated. (RON TARVER / Inquirer Photographer)
At Orianna Hill Park in Northern Liberties, Basil is petted by owners Lisa Lee, center, and Scott Nealy as Marie Barnes watches. As the neighborhood has become trendier, the pets have proliferated. (RON TARVER / Inquirer Photographer)

Why an influx of dogs are often a sign of a neighborhood in change is the focus of my story for the Style & Soul section of today’s Inquirer.

Dogs may not have caused Northern Liberties to change from blighted to trendy, but they sure were a sign that change was coming.

Twenty years ago, when Frances Robb first moved to the neighborhood north of Old City, dogs were about as rare as a parked BMW. But as Northern Liberties went from edgy to trendy, the canine pack grew. Read the rest here.

Read the full story, comment and then come back for what didn’t make it in.

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