Welcome to the intersection of Massachusetts politics and media, Politico
News aggregation is nothing new. Google and Yahoo have been doing it since their inceptions and thousands of sites have since sprouted with the aim to bring news to their subscribers that they may not otherwise see, or take the time to look for.
For politically thirsty Bay State readers who have more interest than time, there is no shortage of listicles available online or in their inbox. The MASSterList, more or less the template for those that followed, had been produced by State House News Service reporters until being taken over earlier this year by former Boston Business Journal editor George Donnelly. CommonWealth then introducedThe Download, which has become a staple of our website and has thousands of subscribers for the daily email. The Boston Globe last year launched Political Happy Hour, a sort of bulldog edition that gets sent out toward the end of the workday.
This week, Politico got into the game with the start of the Massachusetts Playbook, a hyperlocal site helmed by former Dorchester Reporter staffer Lauren Dezenski. That’s now four high-profile daily political news sites — for those who are counting.
While the sum and substance of each approach is about the story links, the four compilations, which all rely on email for clicks before being posted, have slight variations in body and tone. Massachusetts Playbook and MASSterList are the product of Dezenski and Donnelly, respectively, though Donnelly has assistance in linking to stories from around the state. The Download is a collaborative effort of the CommonWealth staff, while Joshua Miller is mainly responsible for Political Happy Hour. Others have filled in in his absence, although it has gone dark this week while he is on vacation, a turn of events that David Bernstein found ironic given the timing of the Playbook entrance onto the scene.
Thursday’s offerings are a case in point of the different approaches. At The Download, Michael Jonas took a look at the dilemma media outlets had in whether to show the videos or offer links of the shootings in Virginia that happened on live TV. Donnelly made no mention of it while Dezenski had a link to a Boston Herald story about local stations looking to keep reporters safe during live shots. Though Miller is away, his track record would lead to the conclusion he would link to several Globe stories about the shooting and its aftermath as well as a national source.
There’s also a marked difference between the four in summing up the links. Both MASSterList and The Download do a short synopsis of stories to accompany the links – sometimes with tone and observation, sometimes handling it straight – while Dezenski quotes excerpts from the stories. Miller has a conversational tone that, save for deadly serious news, can often be described as bemused.
The Download opens with a longer lead item that pivots off a story in the news but often brings some added voice and analysis to the topic. That, in turn, can draw reader reaction. For instance, an item last week by Gabrielle Gurley, about a Globe op-ed co-authored by former governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld advocating for the long-discussed North-South Rail Link, triggered much reaction in the Twittersphere and among readers. Dukakis took issue with the premise and ripped off a defense of the plan, which we ran as an opinion piece and became one of the week’s highest viewed stories on the CommonWealth site. Donnelly also doesn’t shy away from weighing with his take on a topic through a longer item.
We like to think of ourselves as an astute state when it comes to politics, with many equating it to a fifth professional spectator sport in our region. For political junkies, it is a wealth of riches. It remains to be seen if we have reached a saturation point.
Baker says he is trying to keep an open mind on Common Core even though he previously came out against the educational standards. (State House News)
Baker speaks to employees at EMC Corp. in Franklin. (Metrowest Daily News)
The Peabody Board of Health raises the age needed to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21. (Salem News)
Most Boston developers — including city government itself — are falling short of hiring goals for women and minorities on construction projects. (Boston Globe)
The Globe‘s Meghan Irons tells the political love story of outgoing Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, who is moving to Holyoke, where her husband, City Councilor Anthony Soto is running for mayor this fall.
Gloucester is going to spend $1 million adding a lining to a water pipe to avoid rusty and discolored water. (Gloucester Times)
A 10-week-old Yorkshire Terrier is thrown from a moving car in Lowell and police and the Animal Rescue League are trying to hunt down the culprits. Cute puppy video. (The Sun)
A proposed makeover of plaza in Harvard Square into a glassed-in pavilion has fans — and some detractors. (Boston Globe)
A Globe editorial urges environmental affairs secretary Matthew Beaton to approve plans for an Everett casino, but says he has other ways to make sure casino developer Steve Wynn remains committed to helping solve traffic problems at Sullivan Square.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren may be coy about her plans for reelection but she is already stockpiling a war chest with $5.4 million in her campaign account. (GateHouse Media)
The National Review says court records show some members of the Obama administration have conducted official business using emails registered in their dogs’ names.
Austrian officials say the bodies of more than 70 people believed to be refugees fleeing the war in Syria, including four children, were discovered in the back of a truck parked on the side of a road. (New York Times)
The Herald endorses Andrea Campbell, who is challenging longtime Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey in one of the few contested council races in the city this year.
Eric Cantor endorses Jeb Bush. (Time)
Donald Trump, who has refused to say whether he would support the eventual GOP nominee if he loses, is trying to decide whether to sign such a pledge to qualify to run in the South Carolina Republican primary. (New York Times) Ernie Boch Jr., preparing for the Trump fundraiser he’s hosting tonight at his Norwood home, says the pro-choice protesters planning to show up there are welcome. (Boston Herald)
Scot Lehigh says Joe Biden should preserve his good name — and not run for president. (Boston Globe)
A Quincy city council candidate who lives in the city’s public housing was told he cannot hang campaign flyers in his building because of a new policy banning the posting of such materials that officials admit may violate the First Amendment. (Patriot Ledger)
The National Labor Relations Board, in a 3-2 party line vote, opened the door for unions to negotiate on behalf of fast-food workers including those who work for franchises. (New York Times)
The relaunch of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which organizers are hoping to turn into an annual August event “until a cure” for ALS is found, pulled in less than 1 percent of last year’s phenomenally successful campaign that went viral. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Filene’s Basement to be reborn online. (MassLive)
Dartmouth police have opened up their police station for online transactions to allow people to buy and sell goods in a “safe haven.” (Standard-Times)
It’s been a rocky ride for Rhode Island-based jeweler Alex and Ani. (Boston Globe)
Massachusetts students tie for the top score on the ACT standardized test. (WBUR)
In Walpole, the school committee voted to permanently install a large flag to block the view from the high school football field of a Confederate flag that an abutter flies to honor the school athletic teams, which are called the Rebels. The committee balked, however, at suggestions that it scrap the team name. (Boston Globe)
Paul Levy is urging Attorney General Maura Healey to turn her antitrust sites on the electronic health records company that contracts with Partners because it is forcing the independent medical practices that do business with the health provider giant to switch to its software. (Not Running a Hospital)
Health insurance rates in Massachusetts for small businesses and individuals are heading up by 6 percent. (Boston Globe)
The FDA approves a second drug that reduces cholesterol in a new way; no word yet on its cost. (Time)
State spinmeisters, asked about Green Line Extension cost overruns back in June (after contractor estimates ballooned), insisted nothing had changed. (CommonWealth) Shirley Leung says the Baker administration should find a way to get the project done. (Boston Globe)
Officials at the Braintree municipal electric company are proposing building a new $95 million generating plant to replace one of the four aging facilities. (Patriot Ledger)
Yves Dambreville, a highly-regarded retired Boston police detective and Haitian community leader was shot and killed in his native country of Haiti. (Boston Herald) The Dorchester Reporter has the most thorough remembrance of the longtime Boston civil leader.
The new head of the State Police says he welcomes the public videotaping troopers while performing their job. (State House News Service)
Lowell may become the first Massachusetts community to pilot body-worn cameras on all its police officers. (Boston Globe)
Educating inmates is an old idea whose time has come again, a Metrowest Daily News editorial says.
Karen Bordeleau, the first female executive editor of the Providence Journal who took over the job in 2013, is stepping down at the end of next week just a year after GateHouse bought the paper.The Daily Beast is doing away with comments.
The Globe‘s Chad Finn says NESN owes fans an explanation for why the network is booting Don Orsillo from the Red Sox broadcast booth.