Last week, the Boston Business Journal, CBS News Boston, Fox 25 Boston, Channel 7 News Boston and other Boston-based news outlets reported that Columbia Gas if Massachusetts had finished gas line replacement work “ahead of schedule.” While not technically incorrect, the reports either barely or completely failed to mention that earlier that were going to miss a Nov. 19 deadline to restore gas service to thousands of people in the Merrimack Valley who have been without heat or hot water since the Sept. 13 gas explosions.
All the news organization had re-written a press release from the utility and none of them did more the cursory original reporting. The analogy of the Columbia Gas announcement — which gave their stock price a bump — is a chef promising you dinner at 7 pm and then coming out of the kitchen to proudly announce he had finished the prep work of slicing at dicing “ahead of schedule: at 6:45 pm.
But, oh yeah, dinner is now going to be at 8.
Someone Needs To Do This Job
Journalism sucks these days, and it especially sucks in greater Boston. And the old excuse of “we don’t have enough money, and we have to do more with less” only goes so far. That’s where Mayor Curley comes in. He’s old enough to remember when journalism didn’t suck this hard, and he’s here to offer pointed criticism of the local print, online and broadcast media.
There was a time when newspapers like the Boston Globe had an ombudsman and a regular media critic who (sort of) did the job that Mayor Curley will do. They’ll probably tell you they dropped it because of the previously-mentioned “not enough money” and add that there wasn’t enough reader interest in having someone dissect everything wrong with the Globe.
Listen to any local talk radio show and you’ll know how wrong they are about reader interest. And yes, the Globe will be one of Mayor Curley’s frequent targets.
Who Is Mayor Curley?
I can tell you this: Mayor Curley is old enough to have started his career at a newspaper where everyone shared a single email address and there was no Website. He’s young enough to have done well in transitioning to a career in digital media. And most of that career has been spent in Boston.
Mayor Curley (and yes, he is a he) cares about journalism. He thinks a lot of the profession’s problems, and think’s we’d be doing better if we had the conversations we’re going to have here. He also thinks news organizations need to be more transparent and less self-congratlatory.
And for now, Mayor Curley is going to be anonymous. Some of you will figure out who he is and, because you’re bitter and twisted, you’ll out him. And he’ll lose his job. But the discussion Mayor Curley wants to have is so important that he thinks that’s worth the risk.