What in the world?

Letters to the Boston editor, January 9, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  January 7, 2009

Bravo to GlobalPost, the Boston start-up planning to offer international news coverage.

However, your story about the new venture made a wild, conjectural leap when it cited the “economic pressures” on newspapers as a reason to question the Associated Press’s “long-term ability to cover the world.”

Rest assured the AP “is not in danger of retreating from international coverage,” to quote John Daniszewski, AP’s managing editor of international news.

AP has bureaus in 97 countries, including one opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this past April (see ap.org/pages/about/whatsnew/wn_042908a.html).

AP’s international report — from foreign capitals to war zones and other hot spots — remains a vital part of its service to 1500 US newspapers, as well as thousands of Web sites and broadcast outlets worldwide.

Paul Colford
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press

ADAM REILLY RESPONDS Yes, AP’s international reach is currently vast. But domestically, the roster of parties intending to sever ties with AP due to its new pricing structure has been growing, with the Tribune Co. — publisher of the Chicago Tribune and several other dailies — the biggest and newest name on the list. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that AP's newsgathering operations may take a hit if this continues.

Whose world?
GlobalPost is an excellent concept. I write about infectious diseases and global health, have spent a lot of time reporting in Southeast Asia, and absolutely agree that deep foreign reporting is being neglected. I really, really hope it does well.

But that being said, am I the only person noticing that it seems to be an essentially all-male, even all-white-male, enterprise? All the names you mention in your piece are male, and in GlobalPost’s online promo video (which I received as a member of poynter.org’s E-Media team), there is one woman, and one non-white, and they are the same person — the woman who is going to be covering Paris.

Yes, there are some places in the world where it is tough for a woman to report. But as a woman who’s done foreign reporting, I have to say that there are also places where you have a better chance of getting a story — especially a non-official, non-governmental story — if you are female. It seems strange that GlobalPost, which looks like a smart enterprise, is not paying attention to this.

Maryn McKenna
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Illegal art
Regarding “Graffiti Wars,” people see graffiti as a “gateway” crime. Kids that do graffiti know that they are breaking the “law.” It eventually leads to shoplifting (paint especially, since they can’t buy it). When they realize how easy it is to steal, they start shoplifting other things, and the hunger grows from there. Drinking, drugs, etc., is all part of the culture. You can’t deny that 90 percent of young writers start out to get fame, not to be artists.

Is graffiti a crime? By definition, yes, it is a crime to society. You look at areas where there is a lot of graffiti and you assume that it is okay to do more graffiti. It’s the broken-windows theory. However, as to your point that getting rid of graffiti does not make neighborhoods safer or any better, look at neighborhoods like Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, or the Lower East Side, in New York, where real estate is booming, the areas are much safer and full of young culture, and yet graffiti is everywhere.

Don C. Ving
New York, New York

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