Whatever Somerville’s Davis Square T stop is saying about newspapers, it isn’t good. There’s a row of forlorn, neglected news boxes there for The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today, unfilled, unused and informative in an utterly unintended way.
One thing being said is actually quite clear. In the window of the abandoned USA Today box sits that paper’s bastard child — the Metro, which followed USA Today’s path of bright color and short stories even as USA Today walked off toward more serious journalism. But with newspapers struggling for market share against a gargantuan number of competitors in various media, those in the journalism business must do what they can to make it to better Times. USA Today has arrived, more or less, but the Metro does what it must to survive. It’s not Metro’s fault that desperation, garish makeup and spending a short, efficient time together feels more like whoring than a relationship.
This creates resentment among those who feel the papers, heavy on entertainment coverage and light on substance, pander. So while the majority has voted with their dollars to let newspaper vendors surrender the Davis boxes to decay, an angry minority has written in opposition.
“Metro” is scribbled out. The proper name of the publication, apparently, is “The Idiot Paper for People Who Move Their Lips When They Read.”