Archive for November 6th, 2005

All News is Local – Somewhere

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For
a fan of daily newspapers who is also a student and teacher of Media
News, the relative vitality of the American printed
press is something of a sore spot.  News about the field usually
involves declines in circulation, consolidation of publications and staffs,
closing of venerable papers or accusations of conflicts of interest and
crises of accountability. Its enough to make an old news hound cry.

But we are encouraged by the virulent spread of local
electronic news, via blog, on-line papers and other virtual spaces, and
once in a while the ink-stained branch of the press shows signs of life as well.  Case
in point, the local community news site in our own backyard, Lisa
Williams H20town
, and the recent emergence of the real paper paper, Cambridge
Day
.

Lisa, a blogger, pundit and mother of two, covers local
news, town council meetings, local politics, interesting local folks
of note and current cultural and arts events.  She also has a dynamite
restaurant guide
which pretty much covers the area. Check it out,
and you’ll never be at a loss for where to eat in the Western suburbs.

Lisa manages to actually attend most of the town council meetings, in the finest tradition of the American press keeping politicians honest, at least in public. We wonder where she gets the energy, and the patience.

The Cambridge
Day
paper is another source with some similarities and many differences.  It
is a daily, paper paper, published Monday through Friday, featuring "news, business coverage,
features (including weather and a crossword puzzle), commentary, and exhaustive
calendar listings
to the people of Cambridge."

The reporting is workmanlike and the stories that it
covers are an accurate reflection of the stuff people talk about in their
yards and markets; changes in the neighborhoods, the relation between
Imperial Harvard and her subjects and vassals, local crime and the police
blotter.

Since we pretend to publish a humor blog ourself, we
feel qualified to comment on the sense of humor which animates the writing.
It is rather odd, in the spirit of the wicked smart but socially inept
kids who would never be chosen for the laugh-track studio audience because
they always laugh at different moments than the rest of the folks

For example, on the demise of idiosyncratic independent
gas station "Gas with a Smile" (which the paper calls "legendary"):

The decision means Cambridge has lost another of its
most amusing business names – following the defunct Long Funeral Service
and Huron Drugs.

Oh, now we get it.

The most exceptional feature of this rag is its truly
extensive and inclusive Calendar.  They list 28 interesting cultural,
social and scientific events for Friday alone – from a story hour for
children up to five years old from 10:30 until 11:30 am (nap time) at Barefoot
Books, to Aberdeen City’s CD release party at TT the Bear’s at 12:15 am,
14 hours later. All in chronological order.

If there is any city in the world that has enough stuff
going on to fill up a daily cultural calendar, it’s Cambridge.  Many,
many times we have heard about, or read reviews of, cool stuff that went
on the night before, unbeknownst to us. This is just the ticket to keep
on top of the many marvelous public events happening every day.  Even
if we are too lazy, or would rather curl up in bed with Norma Yvonne
and a good blog, at least we now know what we are missing.

Like the global journalistic matrix called The Metro,
Cambridge Day is free, hoping to support itself through advertising.  They
say they are distributing 15,000 copies free every day in Cambridge.
Unlike the Metro, there is no attempt to cover the world. But for people
who value living in a cultural cauldron like Cambridge, its just what
the Doctor ordered.

H2Otown  and   Cambridge
Day
  both
get the Dowbrigade’s highest recommendation