Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Look at the Editorial Page

No editorial page can ever be perfect, including the Boston Globe. In many ways the Globe has a decent set up: a few editorials and letters to the left, a few opinion pieces to the right. It works, like it does in most newspapers across the country. However, the content of the editorial page is obviously paramount. Today's Michael Vick piece doesn't belong there. Every editorial ought to be related either to a special need or a greater cause - neither of which a few hundred words on Michael Vick accomplishes.

Michael Vick's actions were heinous and he'll see at least some jail time for what he did. However, his case is more personal than anything else. As the Globe states in their very own editorial, "Vick's crime does not threaten the integrity of professional football, unlike the fixing of the 1919 World Series by eight Chicago White Sox players." Why spend precious newspaper inches on a particular person when his case only impacts him? Even if what Vick did speaks to a greater cause - animal rights, a lack of a respect for the law by professional athletes, etc. - the Globe didn't make that case. Instead, we get an editorial about how Michael Vick is a bad, bad person - but not bad enough to be banned from the NFL forever. Gee, maybe the Globe should have an editorial on the mistakes of everyone in life?

What the Globe should focus more on are the issues that actually matter. Here are some suggestions: there are specific bridges and tunnels in the Boston area that are in a terrible state. While the Globe's editorial staff have talked about some of them, we need to keep attention focused on fixing them. Why not a weekly editorial report on the status of a particular bridge or what's being done to fix them? Obviously, crime in Boston is getting out of control - how are Boston cops and leaders, whether elected or hired, doing in their jobs to route out that violence? Furthermore, there's a congressional race in Massachusetts that the Globe has barely spent time mentioning - why not try to educate the Globe's readers on the specifics of that race and not just succeed the race to the front runner, when people don't know all the facts?

These stories represent particular needs and often even systematic problems across Massachusetts. Until they're fixed, the Globe's editorial staff should sound like a broken record. Vick's case doesn't address any real problems - accept his own. He's not a politician; knowing about Vick won't educate voters. At the very least, there must be more important issues facing Greater Boston readers than Michael Vick.

3 comments:

joe said...

News isn't just all politics, Ryan. News is stories about people, stories to make us laugh, some to make us cry, and some to just keep us informed. Michael Vick isn't a politician, but he isn't just a football player; he's a cultural icon. Thousands of little kids look up to him, and are finding out that the guy they wanted to be is a dog torturer. The implications of this disgusting individual returning to Football is the equivalent to Mark Foley going back to Congress.

I would de-tag this as fake news.

Ryan Adams said...

I don't think the Globe should focus editorials solely on politics; I particularly enjoy their pieces on environmental conservation, among others. Even in the arena of sports, I'd never complain about an editorial that actually spoke to a larger issue - like steriods in sports impacting youth and college athletes into taking them.

If the Globe focused on the aspects of the Vick case as you have, I wouldn't complain. You made a far more compelling editorial (in brief) than the Globe piece in question.

On a different note, I love the fake news tag. Anything that focuses on particular people and not the issues those people represent, to me, isn't real news. Fake news is apt more because of the point it draws out in comparison to real news than it being used to mean it's "not true." I didn't say that very eloquently, so if I didn't make my point let me know, but it's a valid one nonetheless. On the rare instance where a story is completely fabricated, I typically tag it "fake stories," though I use that tag rarely because there's usually a glimmer of truth in anything in print - but the fact that there's some truth in something doesn't make it news.

Anonymous said...

If we have to stay political - how about David Scondras being convicted to attempting to solicit little kids on a playground, and having to register as a sex offender?

Isn't that just as much news as Mark Foley sending some racy IM's that he never acted on?

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