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.
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.”
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.)
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.