What does “near” mean?

I’ve been frustrated by an “underwriting” ad on our local NPR station for some time. The ad is for Stonehill College, a small Catholic college in Easton, Ma. The issue for is the ad says the college is “near Boston in Easton.” Near? Easton, per Google Maps is 27 miles and 35 minutes south of Boston. Sure, Easton is closer to Boston than say Philadelphia, but to suggest its somehow part of the moshpit of schools in the Boston area is quite a stretch.

So, at whom is the ad aimed? I’d argue that those of us in Boston are not the target since we’d know if Easton was nearby, and it’s not. I’ll suggest many of us in Boston and the norther suburbs may not have heard of it! Contrast that say with Tufts University in Medford. We know that’s nearby - it has a subway stop!

Maybe then, the ad is for those listening via Web who might be tricked into thinking Stonehill is really near Boston? Unfortunately, if I recall correctly, the ad doesn’t include that bit about the college being Catholic, which for many might be more important than its proximity to Boston.


Published Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Written by Adena Schutzberg