By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Spotlight on Newton North

It’s just one high school, so what were the odds that both the New York Times and the Boston Globe would publish two entirely different big stories on Newton North High School today? (Yeah, yeah, I know, both papers are owned by the New York Times Co. But I can’t see this as anything but a coincidence.)

The Times gives front-page, above-the-fold display to Sara Rimer’s feature on “Amazing Girls,” high-achieving young women competing for slots at the nation’s leading colleges and universities. It’s a terrific read, and I think my friend Adam Reilly misses the point — it’s less a paean to these kids’ amazingness than it is a look at the insane pressure they’re under.

I can’t believe folks at the Globe were happy to see the Times steal their lunch money with Rimer’s story. (Although Tracy Jan’s front-page piece on Sylvester Cooper, in danger of dropping out of the Boston schools with an eighth-grade education, certainly fills the paper’s daily quota of socially significant education stories.) Still, the Globe has its own Newton North piece, leading the City & Region section with an interesting look — reported by Ralph Ranalli — at how the new Newton North has managed to run up a price tag of $154.6 million.

Be sure to check out the accompanying graphic, which may be emblematic of how editors at the newly downsized Globe plan to move forward. This is the epitome of local coverage — a long story on cost overruns at one high school, along with a floor-by-floor, interactive chart. No doubt we’re going to see a lot more of this, as major metros like the Globe become more and more local in their focus. Indeed, the Globe even leads the paper today with a story on Proposition 2 1/2 overrides in the suburbs.

Nostalgia note: Nice Globe story by Geoff Edgers on the refurbished Children’s Museum. I was glad to see, in yet another interactive graphic, that the Japanese house survived. The Media Nation family spent many happy afternoons there when the kids were little.

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First trooper singular


What about the Tommy Times?


  1. Anonymous

    Dan, I was struck by the two different Newton stories today as well.The Globe story might have worked well with all its graphics, etc. on the web, but if you bought the hard copy of the paper, almost the entire front of metro/region was taken up with the Newton H.S. story,which seemed a little overdone. Sunday is the day when those of us who live outside greater Boston generally buy the hard copy of the paper. I don’t have much interest in the fine points of the cost of Newton’s high school,and I wondered whether anyone outside of Newton is–although I was interested in the override story. As for those Newton teens, I did read the NY Times piece in hard copy edition its entirety, however!

  2. mike_b1

    “I can’t believe folks at the Globe were happy to see the Times steal their lunch money with Rimer’s story.”You daily newspaper guys worry too much about who “got it first.” By the time “news” — if that’s what we’re calling this — gets to the consumer, the original source is almost transparent. Likewise, consumers don’t say, “Gee, the Globe really gets more scoops than the Times.” And why would they? That’s not how people absorb and weigh information. Few things in life need to be learned today instead of tomorrow.Do you even know much crossover the Globe and Times have? Can’t be much, even in greater Boston.

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