Saturday, May 16, 2009

The value of local news

There are towns in Massachusetts that don't have a dedicated newspaper to chronicle fast-breaking developments. There are towns and incorporated cities all over America that don't have a professional class keeping tabs on what is going on. News gets spread at the barber shop or the four-corners-gas station. Dorchester, a part of Boston, has its own newspaper. It isn't on the level of Bowlegs, Oklahoma.

Boston, a city of neighborhoods, is fully serviced by local ragsheets that report news specific and relevant to the citizens who inhabit its environs. Dorchester is well served by the Dorchester Reporter, a multi-page broadsheet that comes out weekly and has recently expanded its internet presence, updated appropriately, almost daily. Dorchester is the biggest slice of Boston's pie, encompassing more surface area and more population than any other neighborhood. Dot news is transmitted reliably and without bias, though admittedly with a slant toward local interest. A crack team of professionals deliver the who, what, where, why and how of what occurs within their territory.

You won't find rumor or innuendo in the Dorchester Reporter. You will find facts that have been researched, considered, weighed and proven. Loose gossip and slander aren't permitted to grace its pages. Politics is a topic, but one covered at arm's length, lest the stink of unsavory business get stuck to the type setters. You won't read about the woodwose who is supposed to live in Franklin Park that rummages through trash cans on Columbia Road in the dead of night. Neither will you read about the white and black slavery rings that alternate auctions in the square on Meeting House Hill. Unless the police have gathered the facts and made the appropriate arrests, everyone is innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. The Dorchester Reporter is Dorchester's paper of record, printing only the news fit for consideration. Not every tall tale that sprouts in the hubbub of fever dreams Dorchester tends to inspire sees the light of mass distribution in daylight.

Most of the news in Dorchester is good. There are some unflattering reports. In a place as big and dense with humanity as Dorchester, both good and bad happen. The Reporter accurately reports what its staff uncovers and can verify. It makes for a lively record of life in Boston's biggest and best neighborhood. The Dorchester Reporter sets the standard of what local reporting should entail.

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