For an investigation of MTA buses and livery cabs idling in violation of New York City law (there is a three-minute idling limit) and “causing adverse health effects and untold damage to the environment,” the student reporters at Princeton University’s Summer Journalism Program, smartly, headed to 4 Times Square. From their resulting report:

In addition to MTA buses violating the anti-idling law, Summer Journal reporters also observed numerous livery cabs (commonly called “black cars” because they are frequently black luxury sedans) with their engines running while parked outside of office buildings in Midtown and lower Manhattan.


One driver stood for several minutes near his black Lincoln Town Car while the engine ran outside the Condé Nast building in Midtown at 4 Times Square. After being approached by reporters, he said that he was waiting to pick up an editor at Glamour magazine, and that he was idling even though he knew he was breaking the law because he wanted to keep his car cool.

“They call us high-class division… . It’s like for the famous,” the driver said. “I put the AC on because it’s hot. When [the editor] comes in, she and others wouldn’t like it to be hot. I don’t want to spend money, but I have no choice. Otherwise I would like to save gas.”

The public relations department for Glamour magazine did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this article.

Which it seems to me, all told, teaches a great deal about journalism to the 20 high school students who participated in this summer’s Summer Journalism Program (a 10-day program with the admirable goal of “diversify[ing] college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism.”)

(via Romenesko)

UPDATE: The headline on this post has been corrected/updated to include the third “i” — originally left out — in the word “investigation.” Thanks, Tasnim!

UPDATE II: The headline on this post has been corrected/updated to include the “l” — originally left out— in the word “building.” H/T, Tasnim. Again.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.