Why I’m disappointed by Inside Worcester

posted by Mike on January 6th, 2010

Ever since Jeff Barnard first mentioned the new magazine Inside Worcester, I’ve been eager to take a look.

Now I have, and I’m disappointed.

IMG_1217

From the marketing around Inside Worcester, I hoped for an Esquire or New Yorker for the city. I expected something that attempted to be like “the cream of the T&G”, what you’d get if you took a month of the Telegram & Gazette and tossed the noise. At the very least I thought I’d be comparing it unfavorably to the Telegram.

As it turns out, I’m comparing it unfavorably to the InCity Times.

Visually, Inside Worcester looks messy and cheap. The InCity Times, black and white on newsprint, recognizes that visuals are one of the strengths of print, and regularly runs large pictures, comics, and interesting full-page ads. IW, full-color on glossy paper, wastes this opportunity by running small, unremarkable photos.

I’m not happy with the narrow, sans serif body typeface in IW, but their use of color is what really bothers me–it’s jarring without being edgy. It’s very opposite of anything that would signal “smart” or “classy.”

IMG_1219

At its best, the content of Inside Worcester could be on the T&G op-ed page. IW columnist Kenneth Moynihan, after all, was the T&G’s best writer for years. But there’s already a publication printing things “good enough for the T&G”: the T&G. The average article in IW is not even that good. The topics have potential, but the writers lack voice, and the writing needs another round of editing to tighten things up. (See Michael Kinsley’s recent article on unhelpful newspaper conventions. The pieces in IW suffer from just this sort of throat-clearing.)

IMG_1218

I’m not saying Inside Worcester is garbage–there’s some potential there, and they’ve only been publishing a few months. It’s just that I thought it would be aimed at a reader like me, and it’s not even close.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On January 6, 2010 at 18:14 Jeff Barnard said:

    I was pretty excited at the outset… but the bloom is definitely off the rose.

  2. On January 6, 2010 at 21:31 Noah Bombard said:

    I actually wasn’t very excited when I heard Inside Worcester was coming out. It’s a bit like someone at the turn of the 20th century saying “hey, let’s start horse and buggy company!” while auto manufacturers were popping up everywhere. It was an idea spawned too late and seemed to simply do more of the same with the hopes of doing it better.

    Print media continues to decline for reasons beyond lack of quality. The idea that you can start a new paper or magazine and somehow succeed just because … well … we’re not them, shows a lack of understanding of the state of the industry — or the information world we now live in.

    That being said, it takes a lot of courage and resources to start any new business and particularly one in publishing. You don’t have the history and resources of publishers that have been around awhile. So, I certainly have to credit them for actually getting something off the ground.

  3. On January 6, 2010 at 21:37 Mike said:

    Noah–nice use of video at http://blogs.eagletribune.com/headlines !

  4. On January 6, 2010 at 23:04 Noah Bombard said:

    Oh, man, I was off my game today. That’s what you get when you take a week off. Thanks, though!

Leave a comment