It's all good!

When the Department of Education paid a syndicated TV host $240,000 last year to promote the No Child Left Behind law on his show, critics howled. But now that New Jersey's largest city is doing essentially the same, the reaction has been barely audible. Earlier this month, the Newark Weekly News approached City Council with a proposal to print only positive news - for a fee. Presto! A $100,000 no-bid contract was awarded. "Do we have investigative reporters? No," owner Howard Scott said. "Our niche is the good stuff ." Only the state's press association has been heard to complain. Bad public policy, its director sniffed. "The press role is supposed to be that of a watchdog."

Locals run (but don't win) New York City Marathon

Thirty-seven years ago, when the first New York City Marathon was held, it was a local affair, with 127 runners making several loops around Central Park. Times have changed: 85,000 runners applied for Sunday's race; 2 million spectators are expected to line the route, which will wind through five boroughs; and $500,000 in prizes will be at stake, including $130,000 for the women's winner (notable because it's $30,000 more than the male champion will receive). Another difference is that no American has won in 23 years. The number of winners, by country, beginning in 1983:
Kenya: 12
Norway: 6
Italy, Mexico: 5
Britain: 4
South Africa: 2
Australia, Ethiopia, Germany, Morocco, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Tanzania: 1

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