15 January 2023

Good Point

One thing that improves coverage of local mass transit is to take steps to ensure that local press use the service.

Otherwise, all you get is horror stories:

This isn’t a particularly devastating article about the trials of Boston’s mass transit system, the MBTA (aka ‘the T’). It’s well-written, but what I find notable is the subject matter: it’s about service delays. When I lived in Boston, the Globe (and the Herald) focused on the typical mass transit stories: collisions, fires, and graft (oh my!). What they didn’t focus on, to the chagrin of actual riders, was performance (delays and overcrowded trains*).

Then the Globe moved to a new building, and a bunch of Globe employees, including editors and columnists, started to depend on the T. Lo and behold, the tenor of the coverage changed. Sure, they still covered the collisions, fires, and graft (oh my!), but they also focused on the crappy service–nobody likes showing up late to a meeting because the T crapped out.

The information of journalism from a craft to a degreed profession, with the attendant separation from the citizens that they cover, has not been a good thing.


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