The New York Times is not just “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” It’s also pretty much all the news a reasonable person can fit into a single day.
That’s why, despite my preference for local news, I do not tend to seek it out from local newspapers. Bizarrely, I find myself reading what the Times offers as its local news, even though it tells me very little about where I live (I have to extrapolate) and even takes time away from things I could be doing -- such as, arguably, reading local news in a local newspaper.
But it’s hard to look at the Globe, much less read it, the same goes for the Phoenix, and different reasons keep me from looking at, much less buying, the Cambridge Chronicle. The Herald, which I pick on a lot, would also be by default exempt from scorn if I weren’t actually forced to read it as part of my job. And the Boston Metro, well, that’s just beneath contempt.
Say what you will about the free market and competition, and how competition makes for better businesses. I’ll say: That’s not always true. It sure isn’t here.
The Metro is filling a need. Of course. And it’s not the Metro’s fault that its formula gives it enough circulation to hurt the paid competition, publications that try to keep up by providing less content with smaller staffs. (Nor is it the Metro’s fault that crack cocaine and high-salt, high-fat snacks fill a need in the free market. Why, the comparison is downright unfair, isn’t it? To which my answer is “No, it isn’t” and “So what if it is?”)
Regardless, I must give someone at the Metro his or her due. In clearing my in box of clutter, I found a clipping from the Sept. 10, 2002, edition (that’s right, it hung around on my desk for more than a year) that deserves to be immortalized -- or at least given the kind of immortality I can give it, meaning it’ll be seen by a few people and then slip into my archives section until destroyed by the shutdown of Blogger.com, a bug in the system or electromagnetic pulse betokening the end of life As We Know It.
It’s a page one football headline: