Anonymous Woman Makes it on the Cover of the NY Post Thanks to an Ill-Timed Selfie


So emergency workers are all over the Brooklyn Bridge, trying to talk down a suicidal man poised to jump. Media people are everywhere, doing their usual sensitive storytelling. A big chunk of the city is holding its breath, waiting to see how the life-and-death drama plays out.

Perfect time for a selfie, right?

At least that’s what it looked like an anonymous woman was doing the other day when a New York Post reporter witnessed her lining up a selfie just right to get the potential jumper in the background.

Reporter Paul Martinka quickly snapped a photo of her snapping the photo, and the image was spread across the Post front page Wednesday alongside the headline: SELFIE-ISH: My Photo With Brooklyn Bridge Suicide Dude.”

The woman declined to identify herself to Martinka and quickly left the scene — though how long she’ll manage to stay anonymous is another question entirely. Her selfie didn’t show up in a quick search of relevant Instagram hashtags, but maybe she feels famous enough already now that she’s competing with shots from Auschwitz and funerals for the title of “Worst Selfie Ever.”

The man on the bridge, by the way, was talked down safely.

(via New York Post via Pop Photo)

  • John Q

    Kinda of a douche to out the girl in such a public way.

  • SiriusPhotog

    Kinda a douche to take the selfie too don’t ya think?

  • harumph

    She was in public when she did it. In front of a photographer. She wasn’t “outed.”

  • John Q

    Think of it in general terms. By doing what she did it is classless and did NO harm. The photographer who took the photo and the editor who decided to publish the photo are potentially putting her in harms way. How many whack jobs would threaten her for being insensitive?

  • Stefan Nilsson

    Looking at the angle of her phone, I’d probably say she’s a regular tourist trying to snap a memory of a popular tourist attraction. Is she aware about the people on the bridge? Is she aware that one of them is considering suicide? I don’t know.

  • John Q

    Think of it in general terms. Was she hiring anyone? I don’t think so. The photographer and the editor have potentially put her in harms way. How many whack jobs do you think are going to threaten her if they find out who she is?

  • Wilba

    Let me see if I have this worked out – it’s not okay to take a selfie in front of a potentially tragic event, but it is okay to take a photo of someone in front of a PT event while they’re taking a selfie. So it wouldn’t be okay to take a selfie in front of someone taking a selfie in front of a PT event? So the thing that makes it offensive is putting yourself in the frame?

  • John Q

    How was she supposed to know that they person taking the photo of her was for a publication? I personally hate the term SELFIE and would not be inclined to do what she did with a suicide attempt in the background. At the same time I would not take a photo of the person doing the selfie and want to publish it on the front page of the paper.

  • John Q

    Finally, someone who gets it.

  • passing by

    yeah, obviously she should have climbed up to help the poor man… sheesh

  • harumph

    Everybody there was aware of what was happening. It was an ongoing effort to talk the man down. The Post photographer didn’t just happen to be there. It had been going on long enough that the press was there covering it.

  • harumph

    Far be it from me to defend a vile publication like the NY Post, but it says in the article that the photographer identified himself to her.

  • harumph

    Do you understand that there’s a difference between the person who took a selfie in front of a suicide attempt and the other bystanders who did not? The choice isn’t, “Do I climb up to help or do I take a selfie?”

  • harumph

    Again, the Post is a disgusting rag, but the person who took the cover photo is a photojournalist covering a news story, while the woman is a p.o.s. who is taking a picture of herself in front of a man who she thinks is about to die. There’s definitely a distinction there.

  • edlau

    Meh. Wasn’t a big deal until a newspaper made it a big deal. It’s not really news and yet it made the front page. And the guy got down from there safely so that makes this even less newsworthy but I guess “Guy wanted to kill himself but didn’t” isn’t as good of a headline.

    The NY Post, Fox News and other “news” outlets pull this crap all the time…trying to play off your emotions rather than reporting actual news.

  • John Q

    To me your are vilifying the woman and not the NY POST photographer. I think they are both in the wrong.

  • SiriusPhotog


  • Rick

    The REAL story here is Ellsbury to the Yankees, of course. #gobeavs

  • harumph

    I think anyone working for the NY Post is ethically challenged at best.

  • Larry

    Besides the reporter saying she’s taking a selfie with the suicide “dude” is there any indication that she is? She’s not quoted as saying that’s what she’s doing and the angle of the camera in the picture and the Post website look like she’s lining the picture up with one of the towers, not the people, who seem to be blocked by her head. As for the argument that everyone was watching the suicide attempt, she wouldn’t necessarily know what they’re looking at. She could have just arrived on the scene and lined up her picture. There’s a lot of jumping to conclusions here. Remember, this is the same fine publication that incorrectly “outed” two Boston bombing suspects.

  • David Schloss

    But the story he was covering WAS NOT “selfie’s being taken during tragic events.” He deviated from his assignment, took a shot that had nothing really to do with what he was covering and his editor chose to put it on the cover of the magazine—which is now NOT about the suicide attempt or the brave efforts to talk the person down.

  • harumph

    Yes, I agree completely.

  • ElCaminovsTransAm

    Is she really worse than any of the media out there trying to make a buck off of that guys issues? Since it turns out he didn’t jump and it was a “non-story” … they decided to create controversy by show this girls picture and trying to flame anger about it. Lame, lame, lame. Typical news media.

  • Stan B.

    Do you know how many people take happy shots of themselves standing on the X where JFK had his brains blown out in Dealy Plaza?

  • Livewireshock

    How can she be considered a bad person when the next story on this site is about Darth Vader taking a selfie in front of dead storm trooper and rebel fighter, all in the name of a fun parody? It says a lot about today’s society.

  • Kitsu

    The cropped image is incredibly misleading. I’ll not be surprised if this ends up in one of the controversial court-cases concerning so-called-“photo-journalism”.

  • Glenn F

    this is so fake

  • Guest

    So taking a picture of yourself in front of a dangerous situation for facebook attention is selfish, but taking a picture of someone else in front of that same situation for national attention and profit is a-ok?

  • Tor Ivan Boine

    so, she is taking a picture of her self with a camera while taking a picture with her phone?

  • Sarpent

    The potential jumper is certainly in the frame of the reporter, but I’m not so sure the jumper is in her selfie. Note the oblique angle of her camera phone.

    I suspect that this is a manufactured story and that the reporter is scum.

  • geoff

    So let me get this straight during the whole event…there were only two people taking photos? 1, Woman taking what appears to be a touristy photo and 2, News woman….. I think not. Lets not all make this woman the scapegoat for a sh*tty news story… because we all know the news reporters were hoping for something more tragic, and when it didn’t happen they ran with “look at this horrible inseneseless human being’ story…. to rile people up, stop falling for such sh*t news stories.

  • Dave Reynolds

    Had the article not pointed out what was happening behind her and I just looked at it, I would have no idea what was going on. Sometimes, I think people look for things to be offended over.

  • Argus39

    This is SO dumb. There is no way that she was getting the suicide attempt in the shot… she was getting herself and one of the pylons at that angle. Maybe, just maybe, she was a tourist who had one opportunity to get a shot of herself with the Brooklyn Bridge and it just so happens that all this stuff was happening. So now she’s public enemy no.1? Ridiculous.

  • Boyd

    So it’s not okay to take a picture of yourself because of the suicide attempt, but it is okay taking pictures of people taking pictures of themselves near a suicide attempt?

  • BillVriesema

    The angle doesn’t seem to line up. It would seem like this woman’s head is blocking that part of the background. I doubt the people on the bridge are even in her “selfie.”

  • Funny Guy

    Maybe she’s not taking a selfie at all but is actually a reporter/photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times?

  • Anonymouuussss

    Who the HELL Took the picture of HER taking her own picture..!??!?!?!?

  • fapfapfap

    I’d hit it

  • Julio Marquez

    Yeah, but that you don’t know, doesn’t change what she was doing.

  • Aaron Cole

    That is so short sighted. It’s like saying a photographer was sent to shoot an opening to a new library, but didn’t photograph the car crash in front of the building because “that” wasn’t his/her assignment.

    Regardless of anyone’s opinion about the new agency it’s the photographers responsibility to photograph the news period. That includes stupid people making light of a desperate situation.

    I have no issues the photographer covering all aspects of the event.

    It’s the editors responsibility to choose what to put on the cover of a newspaper.

  • Julio Marquez

    The problem here is NOT that she is taking a selfie, but the fact that she is doing it and smiling while someone is about to take their own life. It is about respect for the moment.

  • caltek

    If I were the lady on the cover I would be contacting my lawyer and going after the NY Post and Paul Martinka. Typical media taking something and twisting it into something else.

  • pmonkey

    I just don’t understand why it would be a cover of any newspaper… Don’t they have other things to publish? Like all the problems of the world, or even América are resolved?


    The law states that if you are in a public place, you can have your photo taken and used freely in an editorial sense, which the New York Post is. The only catch is that it cannot be used to create slander or support falsehoods. The truth of the matter here is that she was taking a selfie in front of a potentially suicidal situation.

    The law also states that It cannot be used in advertisements unless you sign a release form. The lesson here is to watch how you act in public.


    Heard on one of those science podcasts(possibly Radiolab) that every time that there is a suicide story in the news the suicides rates increase the following weeks.

  • Steve Grob

    “No harm?” Really? I wonder if this person’s parent or child would see “no harm” with someone having laugh on Facebook with their loved one committing suicide in the background. That’s the problem these days. It’s full of idiots like her that find amusement in someone else’s misfortune, and others like you that make excuses for them. Maybe you should re-examine what you call harmful.

    As far as the woman in the photo, “outing” is publishing someone’s personal information. She wasn’t outed. But, she was in a public place playing the fool and some quick reporter got a photo of it. Maybe she needs her ass kicked. Maybe you need a dictionary.

  • peaceetc

    I wouldn’t exactly call the New York Post a newspaper. It’s more of a tabloid.

  • Antzkiwi

    No worse than the reporters all hanging around waiting to catch the event itself. And looking at the angle of the phone, it looks like the people in the background would be hidden by her head in her own shot, so she was probably unaware what was going on.

  • Bill

    Let me point out that this jumper event went on for an hour. That’s a long time. If the guy wanted to kill himself, he would have been dead. It’s not like the guy jumped up on the rail and the woman took a picture of herself at that moment.

  • Steve Grob

    I think it’s a great photo. It tells a story about the cruel and heartless nature of people, and prompts us to examine how technology plays a part.

    As far as it getting published: This woman was in a public place surrounded by a lot of people including reporters and other people with cameras. She’s a big girl, knew what she was doing, and did it in public. You just as well had been standing there and saw her then seeing her in a photo.

    Kudos to this reporter.