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Why we need a two-newspaper town

Can you imagine how much more boring, and even worse, local coverage would get without the Herald? Let's compare the coverage of yesterday's King Arthur's Lounge murder in the Globe and Herald:

Here's what the Globe's John Ellement had to say about the dead man:

The deceased was identified by Kyes and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office as 28-year-old Jeff Santiago, who was living in Everett.

That's basically what I posted yesterday, based on pretty much zero work (I got the same press release the Globe did).

And here's what the Herald's Jessica Fargen, Mike Underwood and Laurel J. Sweet wrote:

An Everett construction worker shot to death in a horrific late-night bloodbath inside the notorious King Arthur's Lounge was awaiting trial for allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. ...

Salem District Court Judge Robert A. Cornetta issued an arrest warrant for Santiago last Friday when he failed to show up for a pretrial hearing on an August 2006 case accusing him of chasing Kristen Gaudet, 29, around her apartment with a knife in a drunken rage.

Court records obtained by the Herald noted Santiago had an "alleged affiliation with the Latin Kings" gang and a lengthy history of arrests involving "assaultive behavior" and "firearms." ...

Notice anything different? Plus, the Herald is not just painting a picture of a troubled man, but describing the sort of troubled man one could see hanging out at a joint like King Arthur's (site of the infamous 1982 murderous cop rampage, etc., etc.).

But wait, there's more. The Globe's Adrian Walker, struggling to maintain his title as World's Most Boring Metro Columnist, stayed up past his bedtime yesterday to write a recap of Deval Patrick's state-of-the-state speech that, while passable, was completely redundant because the Globe's lead editorial said exactly the same thing (only in fewer words). In contrast, over at the Herald, Peter Gelzinis seemed to recognize which story people would be more likely to talk about today:

It is said that nothing good ever happens after midnight. In King Arthur's, it's always past midnight.

Go, Herald, go!

Oh, wait, what's that you say? Boston has two other daily papers? Yep, sure does. Boston Metro's report is based entirely on press releases (just like mine!). BostonNow? Even fewer details than in the Metro story.



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If the shooting had occurred during a cheese-making
seminar for plant medicine practioners in Vermont,
the Globe would have been all over it.

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I have to admit, I see "king arthur" and am reminded that I need to buy about 10 pounds of unbleached flour milled in Vermont when it comes time to stock my newly rebuilt kitchen.

Perhaps the Globe would cover a murder at an artisan baking seminar featuring hand-made goat cheese and opening with a plant spirit medicine cermony?

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Here's a link: http://www.bostonnow.com/node/65403

It ran on page 5. I think someone was reading yesterday's paper, because today's Page 2 "Animal Story" tells the fascinating tale of a Chinese duck who can dance. G'ahead, pick up a copy. It's free.

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Up here in the remote fastnesses of farthest Roslindale, I can't pick up a copy of BostonNow because we don't have newsboxes here (I think the closest one is a mile away) and they've yet to extend their home-delivery option to us. So I went to their Web site, clicked on "today's paper" and then on Jan. 25 and downloaded the PDF.

And now, after reading your note, I went back and downloaded it again and, guess what? They put a copy of yesterday's paper under today's date.

Google to the rescue: A search on

king arthur site:bostonnow.com

brings up their story (oddly, at a different URL than the one you linked to), which has even fewer details than the Metro story.

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I tend to avoid the Herald as though it had anthrax applied to it at the pressing plant, and this is why: their story paints a very different picture, a much darker one that was probably intended to provoke a "well, he got what he deserved" reaction.

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Yeah, don't you just hate it when newspaper
reporters actually go out and--what's the
word I'm searching for...yeah, REPORT
a story?

I mean, actually going out to the affected
neighborhoods and getting real details is
sooooo 1990's! Who needs to actually talk
to people when you can pluck lifeless copy
right off the internet?

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I agree.

There is a school of thought that the papers should not bring up the criminal history of murder victims, because they are deceased and cannot defend themselves.

On that basis, perhaps the Herald story could have provided more evidence before bringing up the Latin Kings angle. But I'm glad they brought it up, as the growth of those Latin gangs in the north shore is going to be a horrible problem for a long time, we might at least start reporting it now when the opportunity arises. But sure, I can see asking for more evidence before claiming gang affiliation for a dead man. That's only right.

But you CAN'T credibly attack the Herald for reporting on the murder victims current and prior court history. Not only is it gripping color for the story, it may be relevant information if his murder ends up being related to the open case.

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