Here’s a headline from an article from the International Herlad Tribune that appeared in the Boston Globe today:
“Merkel aloof as public questions troop presence in Afghanistan” (I think it was originally “Merkel aloof as public wavers on Afghanistan” when I saw it in print, but they must have tweaked it for the Web.)
I majored in German in college, so when I saw the headline while reading the Globe this morning, I recognized the German chancellor’s name and dove right in. Then I asked myself, “Is Angela Merkel a household name to the average reader of the Boston Globe?” (Note: I’m not asking if her name “should be,” I’m simply asking if she is). I plan on polling a few of the people I’m staying with out here in Boston, a group of students getting their master’s of education at Boston College, and see what they say. But I think not.
And that brings me to the question.
Are wire services simply impractical for the paper version of the newspaper?
The article in question was wire copy from the International Herald Tribune. It’s a good piece of news, and actually quite interesting if you follow German politics and foreign policy. But I don’t think it serves the average citizen of Boston much, if at all. For one thing, it’s word for word the same article the IHT ran. Now, I’m not saying that is remarkable. Far from it, it has become standard for a paper to plug its pages with wire copy to fill its paper, without having the time or resources to position it locally by making an extra phone call.
And I’m not saying the news is unimportant. If anything, I think it is incumbent on the United States and its citizens to analyze the foreign policy of our European neighbors.
But – and here’s the thing – is it relevant to the reader?
I’d say no.
From the reader’s point of view, no where in the article am I told why this is important to me. The story hasn’t even been localized to the United States, let alone the Boston area. For those who herald the future of newspapers as excelling at local coverage, this ain’t it.
Anyone else have a different take on this? Anyone from the Globe want to weigh in on the editorial decision to run it without additional reporting? Or are the foreign policy issues of Germany that important to the Boston area?