There was a comment posted a few days ago by a reader pointing out that this week's East Boston Times congratulated, on page 14, the graduates from the class of "2008." Paging through the June 10 issue I also saw that a headline identified photos from East Boston High School's "ACADMEMIC AWARDS BANQUET."
Of course, mistakes happen. The Times got the year right on Page 13, and the error on the following page was in a heading that was likely carried over from last year and just slipped by. Someone should have caught the misspelling of "academic" -- especially in a story about schools -- but I've edited newspapers, and I know that headlines and captions are often written last, sometimes moments before files are uploaded to the printer.
The things that really trouble me about the local weekly are elsewhere in this week's issue: on page 1 and page 20. The lead story opens with this paragraph: "A second East Boston school in less than a month has been shut down due to a nasty flu outbreak." That was breaking news on June 3, the day that the Boston Public Schools sent out a news release announcing it, but seven days later -- the day the Times hit the streets -- it was an old story. The article should have opened with "Youngsters at an East Boston elementary school return to their classrooms tomorrow after a sudden week-long vacation prompted by fears of a flu outbreak." Or something to that effect.
Besides the untimely angle, the Times story does not quote the school's principal or any teachers or any students or any parents. There are a couple lines in quotation marks from school superintendent Carol Johnson, but they are taken from the aforementioned BPS press release. Why not include comments from those affected by the story? Why not follow up on the closing of the Umana, which happened a couple weeks ago, by asking their principal how the shutdown affected his school?
On the back page is what we've come to expect from the Times: eight static photos of Chamber of Commerce members. (There is also the obligatory photo of politicians on page 1.) This marks 199 weeks in a row we've seen the same faces doing the same things in our local newspaper. The 2000 census said that there are 38,413 people living in East Boston. Not all of them can be found at meetings of the Chamber of Commerce.