Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs' liver transplant: The second-day stories

June 21, 2009: 6:59 AM ET

Steve Jobs' Memphis mansion?When major news breaks, like the report that Steve Jobs' got a new liver, there's always a scramble among competing reporters to find what they call the second-day lede -- an angle they can use to spin the story forward ("lede" is by tradition deliberately misspelled).

Our modest contribution Saturday was a medical piece describing the liver transplant procedure, but there were plenty of other threads to follow. Here are the second-day stories that got our attention:

  • Where was Steve Jobs hiding? Leander Kahney, former managing editor of Wired.com and author of Inside Steve's Brain, did some first-rate legwork and identified what he believes is the Memphis mansion where Jobs has been convalescing. You can trace the detective story at his Cult of Mac blog and even take a Google-map street view drive down the cul-de-sac where Kahney thinks Jobs spent much of his six-month medical leave.
  • Who leaked the story? Daring Fireball's John Gruber, remarking on how unusual it is for the Wall Street Journal to run a front page news item without offering any information about its source, suggests three theories: 1) A healthcare provider, without Jobs' permission, 2) Apple's (AAPL) public relations department, with Jobs' permission, or 3) someone on Apple's board of directors, without Jobs' knowledge or permission.
  • Did the press get played? Several reporters are pursuing this. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple believes Apple moved up the release of the iPhone 3G S from mid-July to mid-June in order to draw attention away from Jobs' health problems with "a bright and shiny object." Joe Wilcox's "Steve Jobs' Return Is Still Vaporware" takes it one step further. "The timing," he writes, "helps protect Apple's share price and deemphasize an important fact: Steve isn't really coming back this month."
  • Where are the Memphis media? Rex Hammock pointed out that 12 hours after what should have been a huge local story, no Tennessee newspaper or TV station had done anything with it. I can confirm that 30 hours after a New York City paper broke the news, there was nothing about Apple or Steve Jobs on the websites of the Memphis Daily News, the Memphis Commercial Appeal or the the Memphis Flyer. The Memphis Business Journal's site does have a Steve Jobs item, but it's just their "Partner News" link to a Fox Business story.

It says something about the state of the news media today that it was a blogger in San Francisco, not a reporter in Memphis, who seems to have tracked down Steve Jobs' Tennessee whereabouts.

If you spot an interesting second-day story, let us know and we'll add it to the list.

See also:

Join the Conversation
About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

Email | @philiped | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.