Patching together blanket coverage on Baker’s speech

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the State of the Commonwealth speech received blanket coverage and analysis in print and on television. But that was then and this is now.

With the depletion of resources and the presence of instant analysis on social media, those who want anything beyond the static recitations of the speech have to go to sources beyond the legacy media.

For sure, the Boston Globe had a double hit on Gov. Charlie Baker’s speech, with State House reporters Joshua Miller and David Scharfenberg doing a wrap of the address with a little analysis mixed in. (“Still, the thrust of the televised address was to embrace his inner wonk,” they wrote.) The paper also ran a column by Scot Lehigh and while he offered his take on the sum and substance of the speech wrapped up in two messages he thought Baker delivered, the column lacked Lehigh’s usual bite and pithy observances well-honed from watching and dissecting more than a score of these deliverances.

The Globe also had a running live update of the speech, excerpting certain applause lines and relaying the mood and color of the House chamber. But there was little else to hang their hat on.

The Boston Herald, meanwhile, left it solely to its State House reporter Matt Stout to do a wrap of the speech and his piece was a static story on what Baker said with little else. None of the Herald’s stable of conservative columnists weighed in and despite an embargoed text of the speech sent out to reporters and editors nearly two hours before Baker delivered it, neither the Globe nor the Herald offered editorials about the governor’s vision and priorities, an act that was once pro forma.

The TV stations that covered it were in and out, returning to their regularly scheduled programs with nary a thought. But for those political junkies looking for meaning, there were plenty of options beyond the usual sources.

Twitter was alive with insiders and observers posting their instant analysis on #MASOTC and #mapoli. CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas offered a step back with a turn of the phrase once used to describe the late Thomas Menino, calling Baker the “Urbane Mechanic” and comparing Gov. Baker to his long-since rejected Candidate Baker from the losing 2010 campaign.

Over at Boston magazine, Garrett Quinn offers his four takeaways from the speech, which are not to be confused with Boston Business Journal’s David Harris’ four takeaways. had a wealth of coverage, from Mike Deehan’s press gallery view to UMass Professor Maurice Cunnigham’s take on “Governor Empathy,” as he dubbed Baker. WGBH (Channel 2) did not air the speech, though the public broadcast station did carry it on the radio side.

With their presence at the State House shrunk to nothing, most papers around the state merely carried the State House News Service story or a wire piece, if anything at all. The outlier was the Springfield Republican and its sister website, MassLive. With two reporters on Beacon Hill – Shira Schoenberg and Gintautas Dumcius – the western Mass. outlet had a passel of stories. But they were the exception.

As much as anything, the speech revealed how much press coverage of the State House has diminished, as resources are drying up everywhere. But it also shows that the traditional destinations do not have to be the only places to get the news you need. You just need to look.





Education Secretary James Peyser comes out against the so-called millionaires tax constitutional question, saying the measure would harm the economy and hinder rather than help the state’s ability to support schools. (State House News)

The Senate passes legislation banning use of handheld phones while driving. (Masslive)

State Sen. Michael Rodrigues, who had earlier said he had no opposition to legalizing recreational use of marijuana, has changed his mind after a trip by lawmakers to Colorado, where it is legal. (Standard-Times)

In a meandering column, the Lowell Sun’s Peter Lucas praises Gov. Charlie Baker and says he would make a great vice presidential running mate.


Worcester will spend about $44,000 reimbursing 350 people whose cars were towed during a snow emergency for which little or no notice was given. (Telegram & Gazette)

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, whose attempt to create a substance abuse advisor position in his new administration was blocked by the City Council, appointed the man he intended for that post to be the full-time grant coordinator. (Herald News)

State House News Service reporter Andy Metzger helpfully highlights that Marty Walsh snagged a gold medal in the historical airbrushing competition by delivering 3,100 words in his State of the City address, not one of which was “Olympics.” (Boston Globe)

New Andover town manager Andrew Flanagan fires the long-time assistant manager, with both sides seeming to part amiably. (Eagle-Tribune)

Sam Tyler of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau and land use attorney Matthew Kiefer dig into the math of Boston’s affordable housing policies. (Boston Globe)


Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby said he expects the board to issue a final decision on the application for a proposed Brockton casino by March 31. (The Enterprise)

Crosby also said the commission staff was in back-room talks with the Mashpee Wampanoag about tribe’s planned casino in nearby Taunton, which will weigh heavily on the decision about a commercial license. (Cape Cod Times)


On the 43rd anniversary of Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion, there is still no agreement on who can and should pay for the procedure despite the Obamacare mandate that requires disclosure. (U.S. News & World Report)


Howie Carr says establishment Republicans, desperate to avoid a Ted Cruz nomination, are beginning to hold their nose conclude that Donald Trump would be preferable. (Boston Herald) “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” say the editors of the National Review.

What if the polls are all wrong, asks Evan Horowitz? (Boston Globe)

An Eagle-Tribune editorial slams two groups trying to recall Mayor Daniel Rivera for not complying with campaign finance laws applying to PACs. The groups say they are just concerned citizens, not PACs.

State Rep. Brian Mannel of Barnstable is seeking dismissal of a suit against him by the campaign treasurer of his 2014 opponent. The treasurer had filed suit seeking attorney fees after Mannel pressed charges under a 1946 law that prohibited lying during political campaigns, a statute since overturned by the Supreme Judicial Court. (Cape Cod Times)


Massachusetts gained more jobs in 2015 than in any year since 2000. (WBUR)

General Electric is moving its headquarters to Boston and Wynn Resorts is preparing to open a hotel/casino in Everett. The two companies are receiving very different treatment from state and local officials. (CommonWealth)

Boston University will sell a big chunk of Kenmore Square real estate, including the building that hosts the iconic Citgo sign. (Boston Globe)

Chris Dempsey, one of the leaders of the “No Boston Olympics” group, is bringing his killer instinct worldwide to help other nascent naysayer movements to quash the five-ring circus in their region. (Greater Boston)

Boston Scientific has sold one of its two warehouses in North Quincy to FedEx. (Patriot Ledger)


The state high school dropout rate falls to three-decade low. (State House News) The Eagle-Tribune crunches the graduation/dropout numbers for Lawrence, and finds steady improvement.

Charges of racial insensitivity at Boston Latin School may spill over to other Boston schools, as black students leading the protest, which has been spread via social media, are encouraging peers at other Boston schools to speak out on the issue. (Boston Herald) School Department officials say they will investigate the complaints, which were first aired in a YouTube video posted on Monday by two Boston Latin students. (Boston Globe) (Although the Globe story leads with a reference to the video, it has no link to it; the Herald embeds the video below its story.)

A shop teacher at Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School has been suspended without pay pending assault and battery charges after a student said he slapped her in the face. A school investigation had determined the teacher put his hand over student’s mouth when she asked an inappropriate question about whether he smoke marijuana. (Standard-Times)

Hanna Strong, who was suspended from the Syracuse University soccer team in 2014 for an Instagram video showing her making slurs against gays and blacks, has now been suspended as a substitute teacher in Springfield. (MassLive)

Joe Battenfeld says Marty Meehan, in his first year as president of UMass, looks more like a defender of a creaky status quo than the reformer he made his early mark as. (Boston Herald)

Federal education officials will create a database to show which colleges and universities have asked for and received religious waivers from the Title IX statute barring discrimination. (New York Times)


A mosquito-borne virus that may cause birth defects is scaring pregnant travelers away from trips to Latin America. (Boston Globe)


James Aloisi offers five transportation fixes for Boston’s congested Seaport District. (CommonWealth) The Northern Avenue Bridge will be taken down in March. (Boston Globe) A replacement bridge, however, may only exacerbate traffic woes, says Garrett Quinn. (Boston Magazine)

Uber and Lyft square off in a price war that may be hurting the profitability of drivers. (Bloomberg Business Week)

Low-cost trans-Atlantic carriers are making Logan Airport the place from which to hop the pond. (Boston Globe)


Bill Forry writes of the strand that connects two MartinsMartin Luther King and young Martin Richard, who lives on in the work of the foundation that bears his name. (Dorchester Reporter)


Three Black Lives Matter protesters who blocked a traffic intersection in Worcester are each fined $100. (Telegram & Gazette)

A civil rights group is suing the Boston Police Department for refusing to turn over information on its procedures for testing officers for drugs, which have been challenged in federal court for being unreliable in its readings on the hair of blacks. (Boston Herald)


The whitewashing of the Oscars is also about the whitewashing of Hollywood films in general, writes Ty Burr. (Boston Globe)