BANGOR – When City Desk editor Tim Allen sent photographer Gabor Degre into the streets of the Queen City to photograph the obese and overweight Thursday, he wasn’t just making sure news consumers of Eastern Maine would know what fat people look like.
He was helping to make the Bangor Daily News the state’s most obscenely wealthy media corporation.
By last night, Degre’s photos were for sale on the paper’s website. The server crashed as people all over the world scrambled to purchase the pictures.
“If you’ve seen one news story about obesity, you’ve seen them all, but photographs really drive home the point,” said Eric Brownell of Bradley, explaining why he ordered twelve copies of each photo. “And I also think cutting off the heads was a nice avant garde touch.”
Lawrence Grossman, professor of journalism at the University of Maine, called Degre’s work, along with the accompanying article by Meg Haskell, “a timeless piece of cutting-edge journalism, certainly something that has never, ever been done before.”
Sources at the BDN said offering the photos for sale might have already resulted in enough revenue to subsidize the print version for another six months.
“If the rest of the newspaper industry would adopt this model – publishing and selling photos of anonymous fatsos, that is – we would have nothing to worry about,” said Grossman.