Just arrived in my inbox: a press release from NECN breathlessly announcing their coverage of St. Patrick’s Day events in South Boston. They will cover the breakfast – hosted this year by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry – and the parade.
Now, as we’ve been discussing, the parade is a controversial subject because of its penchant for excluding (in the organizers’ words) groups whose purpose is to “destroy the integrity of not only this parade, but our faith, this town and our Country.” In other words, teh gays. As a result of this, few if any local dignitaries of any note are expected to march in the parade this year. Even Steve Lynch is looking like a no-show.
So, to NECN’s press release (email, no link).
NECN is once again the television and online home to two classic annual Boston traditions, the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
You know, I’m not sure that all Bostonians really want to be identified with this parade. Actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t. More on that shortly.
The breakfast – hosted for the first time by Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry – kicks off at 10 AM at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, with Jim Braude from NECN’s Broadside: The News with Jim Braude, anchoring the network’s coverage. NECN Political Reporter Alison King will also offer live reports and analysis from the event, which draws the state’s most prominent names in politics and public service each year. This year, some of the highest profile presenters include Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. In addition, the breakfast will feature live musical performances by The Dropkick Murphys.
OK, whether you like watching the breakfast or not, that is a newsworthy event. Of course, the fact that Senator Dorcena Forry is hosting is a big deal. And in addition, the lineup of elected officials scheduled to appear – several of which represent the entire state – is impressive, and indicates that the event remains more than a neighborhood affair, but rather a central part of the local political culture. That is an event that should be in the news.
Immediately following the breakfast, NECN Anchor Latoyia Edwards and Chief Meteorologist Matt Noyes will host the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade coverage beginning at 12:30 PM. Coverage plans include the pre-parade show, videos and interviews, bringing the excitement of the day’s festivities to viewers at home.
Because … why? What, exactly, is newsworthy about the parade?
“NECN is proud to air two of the most anticipated Boston traditions of all time – the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” said Mike St. Peter, Senior Vice President and General Manager, NECN. “The good humor of our elected officials combined with the wonderful Irish spirit at the breakfast and the enthusiasm at the parade make both events a must-see for viewers throughout New England.”
Sorry Mike, but that makes no sense. You will note the total lack of any identification of an elected official or other notable personality expected to be in attendance at the parade (in contrast to the listing for the breakfast). That’s because they’ve all stopped marching because of the parade’s exclusionary policies. And “enthusiasm,” which per NECN appears to be the sole qualification for the parade’s “must-see” status, is obviously not enough to justify NECN’s coverage. Lots more people are more “enthusiastic” about plenty of local events around here that don’t get any news coverage at all, much less reporters and crews live on the scene.
Maybe - maybe – something like newsworthiness once attached itself to this parade (after all, it used to be a public, city-sponsored affair). Not any more. It’s no longer any kind of “Boston” celebration. It’s a few people in Southie, like this guy. Not even the elected officials who represent the neighborhood seem likely to show up – no Linda Dorcena Forry, no Steve Lynch, even Bill Linehan will be out of town - much less any representing the whole city (no Marty Walsh) or state (no Governor, no Senators). I have no idea why NECN cares.
If you wonder this too, maybe you should ask NECN yourself.