Poynter interviews new Globe editor Brian McGrory, who says the current boston.com/bostonglobe.com dichotomy is too confusing and that he plans to make people pay for all in-depth reporting on bostonglobe.com, while making the free boston.com "more social media, more community bloggers, hopefully edgier content."
Ladies and gentlemen, your new Boston Globe editor: Brian McGrory.
Brian McGrory really should never write about sports.
He really has no clue. He attempts to wax poetically about the time when the Red Sox were lovable losers, but can't even manage a decent impression of Doris Kearns Goodwin in this regard.
But ya know what? Time for something happy:
Or maybe he didn't think he was getting enough e-mail. But how long before Emily Rooney has him on her show to calmly explain why bicyclists should be shot on sight?
Apparently, you can take the boy out of Hingham, but you can't take the Hingham out of the boy. See today's front-page investigative report in which FOUR Globe reporters team up to determine whether the new Greenbush commuter-rail line is the fastest way into Boston from Cohasset. The Outraged Liberal wants his 50 cents back:
... I can't wait for the Globe to commit this kind of personnel to riding the entire MBTA system, particularly taking a regular turn on Green Line (and the Boston College route) and see if the Breda car problems are solved as the T professes. But then again, Brian McGrory doesn't have a thing for the Green Line.
Note: The Globe does have a short story (on page B2) today about the MBTA getting 10 more Breda cars. Stephen Laniel wonders why the reporter was so unskeptical about the T's assertion this will actually mean better service for Green Line riders.
Michael Pahre gets to the heart of the matter: City Editor Brian McGrory finds the City Council boring. He makes the case by digging up McGrory's old columns on Boston politics, one of which, in 2003, summed up what we can expect from a McGrory-led city desk:
Exactly one decade ago, after covering Thomas M. Menino's first election as mayor, I set a lofty journalistic goal. My goal was to never spill a drop of ink writing about the Boston City Council, because no reader with even the hint of a normal life could possibly care about the collection of political miscreants and misfits who make up that perennially underachieving group.
[H]is mastery with words and narrative has made him one of the best metro columnists in the country.
In any case, I'm sure McGrory will do just fine. He always seemed to do a much better job as a reporter than as a columnist. But, still, let's try to limit the coverage of Hingham zoning issues, 'kay?
Baron's memo says the Globe will immediately being looking for another metro columnist, which is good, because the paper's last holdover from the metro troika days now seems to be on a monthly schedule.
There. I said it, and after his column on Easton today, I feel better.
Now, one could make the argument that Easton's objections to a proposed commuter-rail line through a swamp are completely bogus, especially since - as, yes, Bri points out - there's already a rail bed through the swamp.
But is it through the same location as the proposed train tracks? The divine Mr. M. doesn't say; that would require using some of the space he put aside for his Shaughnessy-like eternal grudge against the entire town of Hingham.
No matter. What got me was this bit of harrumphery:
John, it's a swamp. Aren't swamps supposed to be filled in? If it were a nice place, worthy of protection, wouldn't it at least be called a marsh?
So, dear Mr. McGrory: You're an idiot.
The Globe features department is following up its 9,000-part series on Women: Is there nothing they can't do? with a new series on "Gays: Is there nothing they can't touch?" Latest to discover the Gay is Alex Beam, who today asked:
... Is there any element of contemporary culture that hasn't been appropriated by gays? Or, phrased another way: Hey, gay people! Give me my stuff back, OK? ...
Apparently, Beam can't have sex anymore now that he knows that lesbians buy Subarus and Toyota hybrids, just like him.
Lissa Harris says Beam can bite her:
... We're all anxiously awaiting next Wednesday's column. What will you do? Blame your lousy salary on women journalists dragging down your profession? Scold black people for eating your fried chicken? Nyuk nyuk! You Globe guys are so FUNNY. ...
Speaking of Globe columnists, today marked Brian McGrory's annual spring ritual: Writing a column on Why Boston sucks more than anyplace else in the galaxy. And he always writes it during a rainy week. Hey, Bri, you have cabin fever or something?
The past couple of weeks show that Brian McGrory can be a really good reporter - just as long as he tries to keep his opinions out of the way. A shame, really, since you'd expect the Rising Star of Metro Columnists to express opinions. But his column today highlights his problem: With one fewer column per week, he tries to combine two thoughts (Deval Patrick is a cheap bastard and George Bush is a spendthrift bastard) and somehow winds up blaming Deval Patrick for the war in Iraq. Or something. Hard to tell. But at least he's on talking terms with Tom Menino again.
David Guarino has been writing a fair amount of late about our boy Brian McGrory - praising him as the best columnist in the city (Ed. note: What was that sound Bill the Cat used to make?) and speculating on whether Brian McGrory is now The Man among Globe metro columnists (both of them).
Now, Guarino used to write for the Herald, so he knows Boston media. But he also used to be the p.r. person for Tom Reilly, whom McGrory composed hagiographies of while others were ripping into him for, oh, pretty much everything. And now Guarino reps for state House Speaker Sal DiMasi. All of which leads to Adam Reilly's question: Should the p.r. person for one of the most powerful politicians in the state be commenting on media happenings?
... [W]as Guarino praising McGrory as a private citizen, or as DiMasi's top flack? ...
Somebody might find this funny, I suppose.
OK, so I blew it when I predicted the Herald's Laurel Sweet would write another story about the Finneran/Carr "feud" yesterday. She didn't.
Thank goodness for Brian McGrory. Just as I predicted, his column today is all about his grave, grave disappointment in Deval Patrick. Our Boy Bri is angry with the governor over the New Bedford case.
Why is he so hopping mad over New Bedford? Not a clue. As soon as he's done telling us how he was so angry at Patrick he had to restrain himself from punching out a legislative aide at the State House, Bri decides to use the rest of his column for some predictable, repetitive agita about all the other Patrick stuff that just about every other columnist inside 128 has already written about (Bri, let me introduce you to Steve Bailey). Bri, you really need to work more on your transitional paragraphs. He asks:
How many idiotic decisions can you make before you're certified an idiot?
I dunno. How many predictable columns can you write before you're certified a hack?
The Herald's Laurel Sweet will get Tom Finneran to insult today's insult-o-matic column by Howie Carr, thus letting her extend the Herald's Finneran/Carr streak to four days with a story that consists of one paragraph of new material and twelve paragraphs of background (or maybe two paragraphs of new material if she gets Carr to make a crack about Ron Borges over this boston.com poll).
Despite the Globe's wall-to-wall punditry today on Deval Patrick's telephone habits, Brian McGrory will get to leave work early this afternoon after he files a tut-tut-filled open letter to his friend Deval about how disappointed he is in him (bonus points if he recycles any of his quips from this column).
Yes, it's awful what gun violence is doing to Boston (mercy, I had to find another way home tonight because of it). And yeah, City Councilor John Tobin's proposal for a city poet laureate is probably not real high on the quality-of-life meter. But, dearest Bri, just because you are unable to hold two thoughts in your head at one time and so see everything in black and white does not mean that John Tobin doesn't want to do something about violence - or that the city shouldn't renovate the Strand Theater. Then again, you're probably saving this all-or-nothing rhetoric for the next time you have 15 minutes to write a column: How can John Tobin push for a city poet when so many Boston kids are dropping out? How can John Tobin push for a city poet when so many city sidewalks go unplowed?
Brian McGrory turns in a tearjerker of a column today, in which he talks to a woman who watched her three brothers brutally murdered in 1997. Go read it - with a box of Kleenex. And then hope McGrory keeps it up.
But now let's turn to the sports pages and Dan Shaughnessy. Oh, Shankie! How many times do we have to tell you? People in the media just have no business complaining about media-generated hype that their organizations helped whip up. You think Matsuzaka's getting too much media attention? Write about something else then. Or as Dan Shaughnessy Watch puts it:
In the spirit of Shank himself, let me begin by stating the obvious. Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist. Columnists, unlike traditional reporters, are given much latitude. They can speculate; they can use humor; they can inject personal opinion. When you read a column, the expectation is that you will be treated to a unique insight or be told a story that you have not heard multiple times elsewhere. Let me end this paragraph by stating the obvious. Dan Shaughnessy fails as a columnist. ...
Mats Tolander fact checks our boy Bri today: Seems that in his zeal to fawn over Boston's $1.5-million shot-sound-spotter thing, McGrory may have left out a few inconvenient truths, which Tolander provides.
Oh, darn, I said I wasn't going to write anything else about the things unless something truly, spectacularly stooopid came out. But I can't help myself - swatting Brian McGrory around is like peanuts; once you start, you just can't stop. So here goes with a comparison of four local columns today:
Bad Hair Day in Boston.
Some interesting tidbits about Berdovsky wound up wrapped in-between - and completely ruined by - McGrory's stupid nervious tick of starting pretty much every paragraph with "This was the column I was going to write this morning." Sorry you ran out of things to say two paragraphs from the end, Bri, but find a better way to pad out your column next time, mkay?
Dude, like, send Borat packing
I hope the folks at the Herald don't get too upset when I reveal here that Carr actually died five years ago - and that the paper is now using a Carr column generator. An editorial assistant fills in the subject's nationality and distinguishing characteristics, hits Submit and waits a couple seconds while the PC spits out a MadLibbian column just like Carr would have written before that unfortunate "accident." A pity Berdovsky isn't fat - there are just so many amusing synonyms the Carrbot has stored up for that. "Borat is a refugee all right - from a 'Beavis and Butthead' episode." Man, that's just Carr gold. But honestly, guys, any chance you could update your algorithms? The thing's starting to get stale.
Laughing to the bank
Wah! Why can't Steve Bailey be re-assigned to the Metro desk? His best columns are about the absurdities of life in the Hub of the Universe, anyway. This column simply and cleanly sums up the whole mess. And props for running the prominent photo of Ignignokt "displaying an obscene gesture."
Phony threat escalated real danger in hoax
What's this? A columnist actually breaking news? Well, OK, technically, Gelzinis didn't break the story - Boston Police posted the pipe-bomb thing on their Web site - but give him credit for going after this angle rather than simply making cracks about Berdovsky's hair.
Dan Kennedy has some more thoughts.
I'm just jealous because nobody's paying me to write about a cartoon I'd never heard of four days ago.
Catching up with Brian McGrory's piece on Manuel Rivera yesterday: Sure, it sucks that our school superintendent left before he even got here, but boy, it also looks like he did us a real favor by staying in New York. What an arrogant piece of work.
And Bri, well done! See, you can be a good metro columnist (but maybe next time, try to resist the temptation to get any Red Sox allusions in, 'kay?).
Just when you think the only time Brian McGrory picks up the telephone is to call in another column, he surprises you with something like today's column on the poor kid who got his back broken by a drunken oaf at a Pats game (and yes, while I'd earlier, and often, criticized Our Boy Brian for dabbling in sports coverage, this wasn't at all about on-field performance).
Still, one doubts this single instance of actual reporting will be enough for the Weekly Dig's Media Farm to retract its call that every Boston columnist except Steve Bailey die immediately. For example, Globe reporter Brian Ballou did a great, heartwrenching story about that 13-year old shot to death in JP, but isn't that the sort of thing a metro columnist should be writing?
Brian McGrory recently admitted publicly that he could not decide if he were a fool or Mitt Romney were a fraud. At issue: $400,000 Romney cut from state funding for homeless shelters.
Now, in the face of a public outcry, Romney has restored the money. And Brian is in love with the governor again:
... What Romney did on Friday when he reversed the cut was something all too rare in public life: He made a difference.
One wonders whether Brian's next column will express outrage over the way the governor's cuts are keeping state psychiatric hospitals from admitting new patients. And then, when the Occasional Governor restores that money, McGrory will realize here's a man he could love forever - again.
Brian McGrory is flabbergasted that the Occasional Governor would step on the backs of the poor to pick up some more conservative votes in South Carolina:
Either I'm a fool, or our governor is a fraud.