Image by Kent Buckley
Pop quiz: You’re the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts, where the former governor, also a one-time candidate for President of the United States, surprisingly testifies on behalf of the friend of an accused domestic terrorist. Do you:
A) Run a massive pic and story about this happening above the fold?
B) Take this completely serious issue and use it as an opportunity to mock the aging gov?
C) Play it safe below the fold and use prime real estate for a puff piece on Somerville?
Tabloid readers likely picked the second option, while more serious folks probably chose the first. At the Boston Globe, decision-makers opted for the third, and why not? Praise should be showered on the City of Somerville on all occasions, in every last section. If Mayor Joe Curtatone peed himself in public and his pantaloons stuck to his pelvis, the Globe would commend him for sporting the same skin-tight jeans worn by his hip constituents.
The problem isn’t just today’s odd placement of an article about how Somerville is so rad that it must be carbon-copied. Nor is the sole issue that Globe editors have pushed this line relentlessly, or that they always tend to include gratuitous and voyeuristic urban porn galleries with titles like “Hipsters in Somerville.” Part of the torture comes from lines like, “Specialists say several factors must combine to spark an invasion, for better or worse, of knowledge workers, foodies, and bicyclists.” But the biggest annoyance of all is that despite this farm-to-table facade, which accurately reflects some corners of life there, Somerville is not Candy Land. It is a real city, with real problems, and real people, and skyrocketing costs.
We know what you’re saying: the Dig spent much of last year impugning Somerville, has a hard-on for the place. You’re damn right we do. In all our 15 years of publishing, we’ve found that approximately half our readers have lived north of the river. More freelancers, reporters, editors, designers, interns, and sales people than we can count have and still do hang their hats there, and many of them have faithfully helped cover food, music, and art in Somerville for more than a decade.
So without ranting further, let’s just say we were taken aback by this latest affirmation of the city’s superlative status. Especially considering how in the past few weeks, there was no mention in the Globe about how Curtatone clashed with the Board of Aldermen over campaign finance reform (Note: Boston.com has been on the case). Par for the course, but if evergreen real estate drip is going to trump the former governor testifying in federal court, it’s our duty to remind readers that the less savory side of Somerville was yet again ignored.
[Media Farm is wrangled by DigBoston News + Features Editor Chris Faraone]