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The ProJo, Good and Bad

If you want to get a sense for what the Providence Journal too often is - and what it could be - look no further than today's front page.

First, the good. Below the fold is a great little piece by Mike Stanton: a fun, colorful portrait of David Boies, the super lawyer brought in by Treasurer Gina Raimondo to defend the state's landmark pension reform bill.

Stanton takes us into Boies' wine cellar, across the span of his remarkable legal career, and into the heart of the Rhode Island case. Just the sort of lively and important piece too often missing from the paper.

Above it, something more typical: a story on Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha "announcing" that he brought in $512 million in fines and settlements this year. As the story notes, $500 million of that total came from a high-profile settlement with Google - first announced in August. This was a victory lap, a press release, probably not even worthy of a news brief. But it wound up on the front page.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post suggested that the ProJo might have filled the Neronha space with a piece on a Brown student who had deciphered a 330-year old code - some mysterious etchings by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams. I noted that the Phoenix, the Associated Press and the Boston Globe had all run the story in recent months. Well, turns out - as a ProJo editor pointed out - that the Journal had beaten us all to the punch, publishing a story back in the spring that I'd somehow missed perusing the archive. Mea culpa.
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