On Friday, Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory submitted this piece (boink! sorry, paywall):
I was walking near Copley Square one recent morning when I made a profound mistake. I stopped to appreciate the scenery.
Here’s what I expected: Urban beauty in the form of the grand dame of a hotel, the Fairmont Copley Plaza, and the contrast between Trinity Church and the Hancock Tower, and the sheer dignity of the McKim Building at the Boston Public Library.
Here’s what assaulted me instead: Advertisements. Suddenly, they were everywhere, glowing, sprawling, backlit ads pouring forth from too many places in this once subtle city. Consider a single block of Boylston Street, directly outside the doors of the library.
We begin with a sidewalk restroom that carries a huge ad for, among other things, Maggiano’s Little Italy, which I’m not sure is a selling match.
And there were multiple other ads within a small radius of Copley Square, leading McGrory to this conclusion:
If we had this many ads in this newspaper every week, I’d be a better-dressed man.
McGrory’s column also led to this conclusion in the next day’s Boston Herald:
Back Bay and Beacon Hill brownstone dwellers are up in arms over plans to plant nearly 50 17-foot illuminated billboards in Hub neighborhoods — the latest skirmish in a controversial decade-long ad campaign.
“We’re talking about maintaining the quality of life in Boston, which is pretty good, and I don’t think this helps anybody other than the advertising companies,” said Howard Kassler, chairman of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.
There’s no question the Herald report went beyond McGrory’s column in terms of covering neighborhood reaction and detailing the city’s deal with the billboard company.
But there’s also little doubt (at least among the hardreading staff) that the coverage was spurred by McGrory’s column.
That’s what a two-daily town is all about.