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

Today’s obligatory BostonNOW item

I’m rooting for BostonNOW because, like Adam, I want to know that there’s an endless source out there of cheap, entertaining items.

Today’s: A front-page tease that says, “Extortion cop pleads guilty.” Turn to page four, and there’s an Associated Press story about Boston police officer Jose Ortiz, who’s been charged with drug-dealing and extortion. The problem is that he hasn’t pleaded guilty to anything.

The page-four headline is considerably more accurate: “Boston cop admits to drug debt threats.” And the head on BostonNOW’s Web site is positively subdued: “Officer facing drug charges held.”

Shelley Murphy’s story in yesterday’s Globe makes it absolutely clear what’s going on with Ortiz:

Ortiz, 44, of Salem, who faces charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, has in custody since his May 2 arrest. He appeared in shackles, grim faced and wearing khaki prison garb, for yesterday’s hearing on whether he should remain in custody until the case is resolved.

I’d love to see BostonNOW give its principal competitor, Metro Boston, a run for its money. But saying someone has pleaded guilty when he hasn’t is serious business. Perhaps Russel Pergament and John Wilpers can find it in their budget to hire a copy editor or two.

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7 Comments

  1. endangered coffee

    So far, BostonNOW’s marketing strategy seems to be to write as many wildly misleading tease headlines as possible. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I’d be hearing about the paper at all. Good job!

  2. Gary McGath

    Now I have to get past the Metro hawkers and the Boston Now hawkers when coming out of the subway. (Sigh.)

  3. Outraged Liberal

    The gaffe count continues to mount in an unhealthy way — whether it’s bad teaser heads or the infamous blog plagiarism. If they showed half the attention to copy editing as they have to self-promotion, they could be Pulitzer candidates (OK,maybe only for best investigative paragraph).

  4. Anonymous

    Being in media relations, I don’t mind getting inquiries on last-week’s stories — it means I’ve probably spoken the appropriate sentence seven or eight times and have it committed to memory. I am puzzled, however, when even the questions are garbled, as if the inquiring party hadn’t read the Globe’s, Herald’s, Metro’s or AP’s stories before calling me.Maybe this is what citizen journalism is all about, with the theory being that regular people are ill-informed about the world around them, so reporters — or whatever — should be, too.

  5. Anonymous

    Their news meetings, which I have watched online, seem to indicate they’ll be muckracking and finding a new angle to every story that’s already been covered a gazillion times. Instead, we find nothing but regurgitation and chopped-down AP stories. Oh, and then there are staff-written stories with confusing, funny ledes that don’t make much sense. Funny how all the talk of citizen journalism leads to a rather blase, downright error-filled paper.

  6. i4NDY

    Their first issue was thick, since then they’ve gotten thinner and thinner. But I like the wires they get from State House News. There’s a Boston Now box by my house that’s all dented up and hasn’t ever had a paper in it.

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