The Providence Journal's front-page coverage of a report focused on Central Falls' fiscal meltdown - a report calling, among other things, for a merger with neighboring Pawtucket - is no major departure for the paper. This sort of solid coverage of an important government is what the ProJo does best - and it is something readers expect.
But it represents a stab at what, in this humble reader's view, it should be doing more of - combining a good, straight-on story on an issue with a couple of pullout stories that provide some context and analysis. There was a piece that honed in on a recommendation that the state takeover the controversial Wyatt jail and another suggesting that a merger with a neighboring city could be a first, nationwide.
The latter story was shorter than it could've been - there was an opportunity, here, to do a lengthier piece on the novelty of the idea, on the loss of Central Falls' identity, on what the locals would make of it. But the idea is right - color, analysis, context. It's tougher to provide in an era of shrinking resources - and shrinking page count. But it's still possible. This is what the paper of record can and should offer.