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BoMag's outsider problem


 

I've never bought the notion that only Boston natives should cover Boston--which you'd expect, since I'm not a Boston native. But I do think that, when we journalistic outsiders are getting started--and even when we've been doing our jobs for a few years--we can benefit from colleagues and superiors who've spent decades here, if not their whole lives.

If so, where does that leave Boston magazine? As today's Globe story on BoMag's recent turmoil makes abundantly clear, the people running Boston really don't know the city. Owner Herb Lipson lives near Atlantic City. Larry Platt, BoMag's editorial director, is all about Philadelphia. And Andrew Putz, BoMag's new editor, is a Minnesotan who's also spent time in Philly.

True, James Burnett--Putz's recently ousted predecessor--came from New York. But he'd been at BoMag for seven years, and presumably has a richer sense of place than Putz, Platt, or Lipson. (For starters, I'm guessing he knows how to pronounce "DiMasi.")

Putz has a good reputation, and he'll be able to draw on the knowledge of those fortunate BoMag staffers (from Boston and elsewhere) who survived the recent bloodletting at Horticultural Hall. Still, given the intense competition and bleak prospects facing all print media today, I can't help thinking that BoMag will be handicapped by its dearth of deep local roots--particularly at the publication's highest levels. 

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