Is the Globe entitled to a question?

Early on, young reporters learn one very important lesson: Editors don’t care one whit what you didn’t get and who you didn’t talk to for your story. Because readers don’t care one whit, either.

“But so and so wouldn’t talk to me,” many a newbie would whine to the crusty codger on the desk who probably said the same thing when he or she was in the same boat.

“Nobody cares,” said editor would retort.  “And give me 600 words.”

The lack of comment is usually accompanied in the story by the ubiquitous phrase, “So and so declined comment.” But for some reason, the Boston Globe chose to give readers a taste of the sausage being made by detailing reporters’ futile attempts to get Gov. Charlie Baker to answer a question about education funding. He didn’t answer the question but, then, it was never actually asked.

The article, across the bottom of Wednesday’s Metro front and co-authored by education reporter Laura Krantz and business columnist Shirley Leung, reads as much like an opinion piece as a news story. There is snark, judgments, and feelings galore. But while it focused on the frustration they felt in not getting answers, the piece leaves many questions of their own unanswered.

The incident occurred Monday night at a speech by University of Massachusetts president Martin Meehan about the spiraling cost of higher education, a speech that was attended not only by Baker but House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Harriette Chandler, Education Secretary James Peyser, and a number of other administration, legislative, and education officials. But for some reason, the Globe writers focused their laser on Baker alone.

“We lost; the governor won,” they wrote, adding a touch of resentment. “If you call that winning.”

But the story’s details raise a number of issues about how they went about their job. The day-of story paraphrased DeLeo, whose interactions with reporters are famously controlled, but offered no quotes, and there was no indication anyone spoke to Chandler, the two leaders who control the education purse strings more than Baker. And they did speak with Peyser, who gave the administration’s response, and got a statement from a Baker spokesman.

What is most puzzling is that Krantz and Leung story talked about surrounding Baker and being “inches” from him. An aide even offered to let Krantz take a picture with the governor. And yet, they couldn’t bring themselves to just voice their question?

It’s a curious story, labeled as a “Reporter’s Notebook,” for something that goes on daily, from the governor on down, and that all reporters deal with as a fact of life. Indeed, Wednesday’s Globe contains at least seven stories where someone declined to comment or did not respond to a request for comment, including another story involving Baker.

Early on in her tenure, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was infamous for avoiding reporters, dealing with issues and questions through statements and press releases. She’s gotten a bit more comfortable, running town halls across the state, but reporters’ access before and after is still very limited.

The reaction is fairly predictable and pretty partisan, with many Dems jumping on as an example of what they say is Baker’s aloofness and inaccessibility. Even former gubernatorial aides who tried to limit their own guy’s exposure back in the day weighed in to criticize Baker. But what few are noting is that earlier in the day, as he does most days, Baker answered questions from reporters outside his office after his weekly meeting with Chandler and DeLeo.

The Globe is getting little sympathy from those who cover the State House regularly.

“1. Governors avoiding reporters is always a frustrating thing,” MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius tweeted. “2. This reads a bit like that time the Globe moved downtown and discovered the T.

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

State Sen. John Keenan of Quincy is the latest to enter the expected scrum for Senate president. (State House News Service)

Rep. Diana DiZoglio files legislation giving the state much greater oversight of sober homes, (Eagle-Tribune)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Bourne Selectman Michael Blanton resigned from the board Tuesday after being held without bail when a judge ruled he posed a danger as a result of domestic assault charges. (Cape Cod Times)

Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer has tapped Thatcher Kezer, a retired Air National Guard lieutenant colonel and the former two-term mayor of Amesbury, to be the city’s first chief operating officer. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Gary Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, is leaving the administration amid a strain over the president’s decision to unilaterally impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. (New York Times)

The Trump administration sues California over its immigration laws. (New York Times)

The Office of Special Counsel issued a report saying Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway violated the federal Hatch Act by weighing in on the Alabama Senate race in her official capacity as a White House employee. (National Review)

Renee Graham thinks Trump’s joke about wanting to follow in China president Xi Jinping’s footsteps by clearing away term limits and being allowed to serve as president-for-life was no joke. (Boston Globe)

Stormy weather: Porn star Stormy Daniels has filed suit against President Trump claiming the non-disclosure agreement they had over their sexual relationship is invalid because he never signed it. (New York Times)

ELECTIONS

A Berkshire Eagle editorial urges Sen. Elizabeth Warren to get a DNA test to determine whether she has Indian heritage in her background.

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick tells a Kansas City radio station that he is considering a 2020 run for president. (KCUR) As the latest in a seemingly never-ending line of Bay State pols to come down with a case of Potomac fever, Patrick’s emergence is bad news for his fellow liberal heartthrob Elizabeth Warren, writes Joe Battenfeld. (Boston Herald)

The state’s two Democratic US senators and two of members of its all-Democratic US House delegation say they’re staying neutral in the primary race in which incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano is being challenged by Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, an unusual snub to a fellow incumbent. (Boston Globe)

Democrat Tom Meroli, the assistant treasurer in Mendon, decides to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Ryan Fattman of Webster. (Telegram & Gazette)

Fall River voters overwhelmingly approved a debt exclusion for a new high school but opponents may challenge the results because only 16.6 percent of voters turned out and the new charter requires 20 percent turnout for initiative petitions and referendums. It’s unclear if an override vote would come under that definition. (Herald News)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

National Grid agrees to pay $7 million in restitution and fines for overcharging customers. (MassLive)

EDUCATION

The Lowell City Council votes to begin the process of taking the building next to the high school by eminent domain, setting in motion the renovation of the school. (Lowell Sun)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are donating $30 million to Harvard and MIT to develop systems to address low literacy rates among elementary school students. (Boston Globe)

A custodian at an elementary school in Westford was charged with illegal possession of a loaded handgun. The gun was discovered in the trunk of his car, which was parked at the school. (Lowell Sun)

West Virginia teachers will be back in the classroom after receiving a 5 percent raise signed into law by the governor following a nearly two-week strike by the educators. (New York Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A key state agency is recommending approval of the proposed merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and 11 other hospitals. The new entity would reshape the state’s health care landscape and create a potent rival to dominant Partners HealthCare. (Boston Globe)

Tyrek Lee Sr., a powerful top leader with SEIU1199 who was accused of sexually harassing female coworkers, will be stripped of his position but remain with the service employees union in another capacity. (Boston Globe)

The emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital becomes the first in the state to offer the addiction medication buprenorphine to patients on the spot. (WBUR) Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island recorded very slight, though not statistically significant, decreases last year in emergency room visits for opioid overdoses. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Sen. Adam Hinds of Pittsfield says the state Department of Transportation supports a trial summer run of the Berkshire Flyer — weekend rail service from Pittsfield to New York City. The service could launch next year. (Berkshire Eagle)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A whopping 9 percent of New England’s entire 2017 electric bill was incurred in just one week — that last week in December when temperatures plunged. Otherwise, we got off easy with mild temperatures, low usage, and one of the lowest power bills in the last 15 years. What does all this mean in the debate over new natural gas pipelines? (CommonWealth)

Beverly is reducing the amount of 32-gallon trash barrels residents can put out for pickup from five to two. (Salem News)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

With state marijuana regulations now approved, there are four key changes. (WBUR)

Voters in Medway and Bellingham, which both approved the 2016 statewide ballot question to legalize adult use of marijuana, opted to ban the sale of retail pot in their communities. (MetroWest Daily News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Federal prosecutors say their corruption case against two Boston City Hall aides could collapse if the judge overseeing the case insists on defining the case narrowly to require that they prove the defendants benefited personally from the misdeeds being alleged. (Boston Herald)

Charles Chieppo says the ripple effects from the Janus case now before the US Supreme Court are likely to be felt more strongly in Massachusetts, where public sector unions are very strong. (Boston Herald)

MEDIA

GateHouse Media keeps on growing, preparing to add papers in Austin and Palm Beach. (Nieman Journalism Lab) The latest acquisition in Texas is the Austin American-Statesman. (Texas Monthly)