Monday, June 09, 2003

The Anywhere Times. As New York Times scandals go, this is pretty minor. But surely some readers -- especially NYC expats -- are going to think it's scandalous that the paper has decided occasionally to publish different editorials in its national and metro editions.

In "A Note to Our Readers," the Times says:

Today, for instance, readers in the New York metropolitan area will see an editorial about the need for reform of the lobbying laws in Albany in the place where national readers have an editorial on policies toward the homeless. Both pieces can be read on the Times Web site, and both will be included in the paper's permanent databank under today's date.

In Boston, we get neither the national nor the metro edition but, rather, the New England edition, which is beefier than the national but thinner than the metro. The note doesn't address which editorials we New Englanders would get, but I checked and, sure enough, there's one on homelessness and none on the shenanigans in Albany.

Although some ex-New Yorkers will never get over no longer being able to get the full hometown paper here, the saving grace had always been that all editions had the same front pages and -- until now -- the same editorial pages.

I understand the impulse not to bore a national audience with matters of strictly local concern. But one of the charms of the Times is that it's a New York paper. Take out the NY, and it's less interesting. One of the things that David Remnick has done to improve the New Yorker, for instance, is give it more of a New York feel. Even a staunch Bostonian such as Media Log appreciates a sense of place.

Besides, the Times has taken one large step toward rezoning hell, where you never know what good stuff you might be missing. Yes, I know I can go to the Web, but in that case, why do we get the Times delivered at home?

Editorial-page editor Gail Collins needs to rethink this one.

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