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    Globe's myopic "national" news

    Like the Washington Post's national reporting, the Globe's "National" page has become a sick joke. Even though the Globe has been humbled to carrying nothing but AP stories from anywhere outside Route 128, there is no need for a page to be so myopic.

    For example, the WTOP-radio site in Washington, DC, which never pretended to be anything other than a news repeater, has an interesting "national" page composed of AP stories. [ http://www.wtop.com/?sid=&nid=12 ] It provides a synopsis and text for each one of about 300 stories.  Headlines on view now include a typical crock of "crime news" but also the following:

    Romney tries to seize mantle of change
    Trop. Storm Nadine to slowly move away from Azores
    Family says Minn. Somali left to join al-Shabab
    Detroit's former mayor faces corruption trial
    Scores of inmates fight at Ariz. prison, some hurt
    Shell gets OK to prepare 2nd drill site off Alaska
    Lawyer says man in violent online posts just 'dumb'
    Correction: John Hinckley story
    West accuses Iran of shipping arms to Syria
    Bomb threat at Baton Rouge airport
    Students injured in school bus wreck in East Tenn.
    Study says virtually all Ala. tar balls from BP spill
    Brake glitch kept Knott's riders stuck in the sky
    APME elects board, installs leaders
    Anti-jihad 'savage' ads going up in NYC subway
    Business groups protest Calif. carbon market
    New AP chief stresses news, business cooperation
    3 Mile Island nuke plant automatically shuts down
    Myanmar's Suu Kyi lets on she's a light sleeper
    Chick-fil-A makes another statement on controversy
    Parents of slain border agent slam DOJ report
    Senate rreports Microsoft, HP avoid offshore taxes
    Protests surround Ahmadinejad's NYC visit
    Labor strife threatens American Airlines schedule
    9/11 family members renew criticism of memorial
    Texas school bars Bible banners at football games
    Man dies hanging upside down at Utah's Zion park
    Sex abuse claims stem from Tulsa megachurch
    Census data another sign economy has bottomed out

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    No news is bad news

    The Globe continues to discourge interest in news pages with hopelessly myopic focus. Anything west of the Berkshires is treated as though it were in Outer Space. It's turned from a news medium into a news cartoon. One day recently, National page stories ran: Romney, Obama, Romney, Obama, Romney, Romney, Romney, Romney, Romney, New Hampshire, Connecticut. That's all, folks!

    For some 15 years running, it's been: Lose readers and ads. Cut staff and content. Lose more readers and ads. Cut more staff and content. Repeat. Maybe the ailing Globe can't afford any talent at all now to paste up pages. It would do better to throw automated random darts at news feeds.

    For us, it's an easy one. The Globe is two or three minute stroll and maybe five clicks, and we spend time with the Guardian, WTOP, Yahoo News, the NY Times and other sites. A review last fall, when it started, showed the Globe's paid site might be a fair value at $20 a year--about a tenth of the NY Times, since it has no more than a tenth as much original news as the Times, most from inside the City of Boston only.

    As predicted a month ago, news forums whose recent posting headlines no longer appear on news pages have gone into sharp decline, particularly Health and World. Out of well over a hundred forums, there are just a chattering dozen that survive in the Cold Underground.