Monday, April 06, 2009

Blog Rally to help the Boston Globe

We have all read recently about the threat of possible closure faced by the Boston Globe. A number of Boston-based bloggers who care about the continued existence of the Globe have banded together in conducting a blog rally. We are simultaneously posting this paragraph to solicit your ideas of steps the Globe could take to improve its financial picture:

We view the Globe as an important community resource, and we think that lots of people in the region agree and might have creative ideas that might help in this situation. So, here's your chance. Please don't write with nasty comments and sarcasm: Use this forum for thoughtful and interesting steps you would recommend to the management that would improve readership, enhance the Globe's community presence, and make money. Who knows, someone here might come up with an idea that will work, or at least help. Thank you.

(P.S. If you have a blog, please feel free to reprint this item and post it. Likewise, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, please add this url as an update or to your status bar to help us reach more people.)

66 comments:

ron-newman said...

Paul, who will be collecting all the comments from the various blogs that are participating in this rally? How many days will the rally last?

This is a great idea, but it's going to require a little coordination to compile all the resulting input.

Paul Levy said...

Sorry, ron-newman, coordination is not part of social media! The folks at the Globe will have to keep track of the ideas. But we'll help them by posting all the blogs that are participating. Here are the ones we know about so far:

http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/
http://www.bluemassgroup.com/
http://www.letstalkhealthcare.org/
http://healthblawg.typepad.com/
http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/
http://patientdave.blogspot.com/
http://endlessknots.netage.com
http://billives.typepad.com/
http://cseries.typepad.com/celebrityseries/
http://amatterofdegree.typepad.com/a_matter_of_degree/
http://venturecyclist.blogspot.com/
http://www.insideoutchina.com
http://www.negotiationguru.blogspot.com/
http://baystateliberal.blogspot.com
http://hilforum.com/
http://www.byeday.net/weblog/networkblog.html
http://www.healthbusinessblog.com/?p=2137
http://mikegil.typepad.com/

Paul Levy said...

And two more:

http://achronicdose.blogspot.com/2009/04/blog-rally-to-help-boston-globe.html

http://www.healthcontentadvisors.com/2009/04/06/blog-rally-to-save-the-boston-globe/

Paul Levy said...

How about this for a start: Real community ownership, instead of an out-of-town corporation that doesn't seem to give a hoot about Boston. Like the Green Bay Packers: http://www.newrules.org/sports/packers.html. Excerpt:

"The Packers were incorporated in 1923 as a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Article I of their bylaws states, "this association shall be a community project, intended to promote community welfare...its purposes shall be exclusively charitable." The team can move only through dissolution, in which case the shareholders get only the $25 a share they put in. A board of directors, elected by the stockholders, manages the team."

Dianna Huff said...

Paul,

I cancelled my subscription because the paper has no real news. On top of that, they didn't seem to care about small business or local events. And they have terrible medical/IT/biotech coverage.

Neil Vertel (I think that's his name), a health IT journalist & blogger, posted a couple of months ago that he pitched the Globe regarding HIT stories and was told "there was no interest" in the topic. Health IT is a $2.5 billion dollar industry.

The Globe could make itself the paper of record for the Health IT / biotech / general tech in the greater Boston area. We have a lot going on here, but you wouldn't know about it from the Globe.

James said...

One more:

http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/2009/04/boston-globe-blog-rally-brief.html

Paul Levy said...

Thanks,James.

BTW, lots of ideas popping up at Blue Mass Group: http://www.bluemassgroup.com/diary/15311/

Anonymous said...

1. The Globe has to identify what the paper can do that the internet can't. IE local coverage, right down to the street and local town meeting.
You may have to go back to your roots.

2. Take the best of the blogging and print it in the paper. Bloggers are very egocentric ( I personally know that myself) and would probably love to pay to see that.


3. Print more interesting and short pieces on general topics from big thinkers. no offense to your columnists but they can be predictable.

Marty Baron said...

A Blog Rally is the first good idea, and we welcome all the others to come. We'll be reading everyone's thoughts with great interest. Thanks.

Steve Ainsley and Marty Baron

Anonymous said...

The GLOBE's real value has been in the special reports: on the Southie Mafia, and the latest on health care in the Boston area. These represent REAL reporting, information that can't be obtained elsewhere. If the GLOBE can somehow capitalize on this, and make this kind of work its mission, it could have a readership larger than Boston metro. What publishing form should that take? -- I have to say, I do not need to get a "parish newsletter," however.

Jeff said...

Add News Cycle to the list

http://news-cycle.blogspot.com/2009/04/blog-rally-to-support-boston-globe.html

Paul Levy said...

Thanks, Marty and Steve! We all hope something valuable comes out of this -- but , at a minimum, it is a show of the regard and affection people have for the paper. Best of luck to all of you.

Michael A. Burstein said...

I would repost over on my own blog, but it seems to me that having the comments all directed to one blog makes more sense. Is it worth my reposting?

ron-newman said...

My blog entry is here:

http://ron-newman.livejournal.com/3838.html

but I'm going to suggest that people come HERE to leave comments.

Errol Lincoln Uys said...

Add The Bridge to the list:

http://errollincolnuys.blogspot.com/

My two latest posts on "The Future of Newspapers" may be of interest to your readers.

As a former editor and reporter, what troubles me about the potential loss of any newspaper is the vision of the new "ecosystem" that's supposed to replace our traditional press: a "grassroots newsroom," where everyman and everywoman pound the beat in all directions, clamoring for their story to be told - or aggregated - this instant.

What I see is a media of mass fragmentation incoherent in all its coherencies.

Bob Coffield said...

Great to see you heading up this effort to provide feedback to the Globe. I have a general comment that is applicable to the Globe, my local papers in Charleston WV (Charleston Gazette and Daily Mail) and other newspapers. They have to find a way to transition online and at the same time cut paper distribution costs.

I finally stopped my subscription to the Charleston Gazette last year. Why? In large part because I got tired of lugging the paper to the recycling center and I had read most of the AP content in the newspaper the night before online (or with Twitter now -- as news breaks).

How can the Charleston Gazette and other newspapers win me back? Give me a device such as the Plastic Logic Reader (http://www.plasticlogic.com/) or a Kindle hybrid that is large enough to read the newspaper in an electronic form which is similar to the paper format. Push the content out to me in real time all the time via wireless. Think of the electronic paper boy who delivers the news all the time. I would pay to have this dedicated device in my home that my family could pick up and read anytime. Along with renting the device I would pay a subscription price based on a menu of services that I could customize my subscription. If you wanted to pay less -- maybe you have to watch some featured ads run before you get to the news.

I also agree with the prior content that newspapers have to go back to basic reporting on a local level. The USA Today impact has spread to most newspapers where we have made news, reporting and journalism a commodity rather than an art.

Bob Coffield
Health Care Law Blog
http://healthcarebloglaw.blogspot.com/

Geri Denterlein said...

Let's hope this blog rally helps. Each comment is a life preserver that we can throw to help the Boston Globe survive. The Globe is an crucial community resource and a great brand. Gathering the the news is expensive, but necessary to keep keep people connected to things that matter in our city and region. As for ideas, reducing the cost structure goes beyond worker and union concessions. As we all become more comfortable with reading our newspapers on line, the Globe could migrate more news pages to electronic version, i.e. G section. I'm also interested in what the Boston Foundation might be doing (read in BBJ) to re-enforce the critical role that good reporting has to play and possibly to bring investors to the table.

jkstraw said...

It seems to me that the Globe is a marketing tool for professional sports. Because of their coverage, the product is constantly before the readership; selling and perpetuating the brand. I would like to see the teams/entities that benefit from this exposure, play a financial role in the solvency of the vehicle. It's good business.

mchi said...

The Globe needs to target younger readers. As the father of three, I can speak from experience that my children are interested in reading about current and pertinent news. Unfortunately, as the paper reads now, I am not comfortable with my children reading certain parts. I feel a filtered section of the paper that I could hand over to my children would really spark an interest in their reading. For the record, I am not talking about kids pages, (games,puzzles,etc.), but just real news that children want to read about and I want them to know about.
It seems that younger readers are written off as an unattainable market, but in working with parents with an interest in keeping their children informed, the Globe could maybe create and nurture a new generation of newspaper readers.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiment about “local news” reporting. The Globe needs to have content that is not available on-line. What could that possibly be? In depth local news is not readily available. For instance, complete police logs of communities should be readily accessible for the different neighborhoods and towns. While many town meeting minutes are available, they are not readily available and without professional journalist oversight. Our State government needs watching as only investigative journalism can do. National and international content is readily available. The paper Globe would do better if journalists kept Mass. businesses, government and all of us accountable and transparent.

Lee said...

Mr. Levy - What about the Globe possibly publishing six days a week - skipping Saturday, which is usually a low-news day anyway. My family would still subscribe. I have a lot of respect for the Globe and don't want to see it fail.

PoliticaObscura said...

It would be nice if the Boston Globe writers and editors valued their readers in the suburbs rather than constantly writing stories and editorials that complain about their strip malls, SUVs, and suburbia's "coming collapse". Also, fewer articles about "biking to work" would be appreciated. Looking down on your readers isn't a winning strategy.

Chip Benson said...

Create a daily "Public Opinions" page and charge for the publication of opinions.

Sincerely,

Chip Benson

Chris+LeslieKingsley said...

I am a 56-year-old, long-term Globe subscriber who is devastated that its hard-copy version might disappear. My wife and I want to continue our relaxing custom of reading the PAPER together as we sit on our couch with our morning coffee; not using a computer which we both negatively associate with work rather than enjoyment. We do not seek efficiency; rather we like to discover the articles we might like to read as we turn the pages -- stimulates lots of good conversation as the coffee "kicks in." There must be many others like us? Also, have the Globe, Herald, and other local newspapers thoroughly investigated ways they might collaborate: common delivery services, common sections, sharing of reporters/articles, etc.? Might the Globe wrap around its delivered paper each morning over a week or so,a 1-page survey with a "Please Respond!letter" asking subscribers how much more they might pay for their subscriptions to get a sense of what's possible? I know that we'd pay more. -- Chris Kingsley, Sharon, MA. kingsleylc@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Newspapers in olden days used to drive up sales by printing serialized fiction. Didn't this happen more recently, too, when Helen Fielding wrote "Bridget Jones' Diary" as a weekly column, before publishing it as a book? I'll bet lots of new writers would love such an outlet, and famous writers might even donate stories for the sake of the paper.

Graphic novels are more and more popular and influential in our culture, as are manga (Japanese graphic novels and comics). I'll bet loads of people, especially young people, would buy the paper every day if it had serialized graphic novels and manga-- particularly in a college town like Boston.

That would change the circulation and drive up advertising from more diverse businesses.

cody said...

Here's mine. Thanks for doing this, Paul.

Visions of Cody

Errol Lincoln Uys said...

I’ve got the rally on my blog, The Bridge, but let me add my dime’s worth here:

For years, the Boston Globe and every other newspaper have given away their treasure and continue to do so even as I type this

Go to Huffington Post, Drudge Report, Daily Beast, virtually all such sites: strip away links to newspaper-originated stories and you have vast outpourings of opinion, lots of fluff, and very limited original hard news coverage.

Imagine where broadcast and cable TV would be were they to permit a similar hemorrhage of their programming. In a sense, what saved them was the fact that the Internet was not up to speed in the early free-for-all. A year or two ago, for example, a China-based company launched a "TV-player" that allowed access to major stations: they were swiftly forced to remove these links by FOX, ABC, BBC etc.

Alas, the stable door may be off its hinges, but I see no reason why the Globe and other papers should continue to provide the world’s greatest free news service.

1)Newspapers need to find a way of monetizing the stream of material currently donated to the web. – A combination of The Wall Street Journal’s subscription model for deep coverage + some free web material may be one answer.

2)Much has been said about lack of local content, but it should be acknowledged that a major regional newspaper cannot cover events on every block. That’s always been left to small local papers – in my area, the Dorchester Reporter does a fine job of reporting what’s going on in every parish; ethnic papers offer similar coverage of their communities. – I’ve worked in both of these print areas with stories I never expected our big city paper to cover and gladly so for my own readership figures!

3)In a worst case scenario, I would see the Globe move to tabloid format along the lines of its new “G” section from Monday to Saturday. The Sunday Globe could be the flagship weekly at a premium price, which I would gladly pay.

On one of the pieces I wrote on my blog about the future of papers, I adapted an old quote:

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets,” said Napoleon. The Little Corporal's words might handily be adapted today with substitution of “a thousand bloggers."

http://errollincolnuys.blogspot.com/

David E. Williams of the Health Business Blog said...

Comments on what the Globe should do differently are helpful, but in the near term the best way to help is to subscribe to the print edition.

Kate said...

Sorry, haven't had a chance to scan other comments for redundancy, but it seems to me that the only hope for mainstream print media is to go non-profit.

People value newspapers and want them at least as much as they want PBS and NPR, and I think they'd pay to support them.

There's no way that print advertising models will revert back to pre-Internet levels, but I do believe that committed subscribers would pay more to ensure newspaper survival.

In any case, the focus needs to be local, local, local...it's the only way that a Globe can offer something truly unique and that can't be had for free elsewhere (I know, that's completely ignoring the particular slant, style and character of individual outlets covering national and international news, but unfortunately "free" wins out every time).

Ted Doyle

Jeff Levin-Scherz said...

Another blog joining the Boston Globe Blog Rally:

This is a link

L said...

I'll just add mine too. I just put up the post, so we'll see: http://writtenpyramids.blogspot.com/2009/04/dont-let-atlas-shrug.html

Ellen Steinbaum said...

I wrote a column for the Globe until its City Weekly section closed recently. Now I write a blog (of course --it’s the zeitgeist, isn’t it?). I love writing it and getting the reader comments. But, as both writer and a reader, I am aware that a blog is no substitute for a newspaper. Whether the for-profit corporate model needs rethinking or whether a newspaper must be only in print are only two of what I hope will be an array of creative questions to be asked here and elsewhere. But what’s clear is that a newspaper is too important to lose.

Carl said...

With all due respect to everyone's opinion about The Globe, I'm wondering why we are pushing for it to continue.
As a child I remember my father sitting down every evening reading the paper while smoking his pipe. I lived in Milwaukee at the time and the Milwaukee Journal was an evening addition and many people opted to get their news at that time especially in a blue collar working class town that got up at the crack of dawn to head to work. We also received it on the weekends and Sundays were spent looking at the ads, especially during Christmas season. However, we are living in a different world. Gen X and younger are not as tied to that tradition of reading the newspaper like our parents did years ago. We get our news from the web or the many news channels or even on the small monitors in the elevators of the building we work in. Newspapers aren't offering us anything we can't already Google.
If I were to suggest something to The Globe, it would be to be more like a magazine or even a good book. Take The Economist for example. Give me something that isn't written at a six grade reading level and is longer the five paragraphs. Something of substance that I can not only think about, but also keeps me entertained. Give me viewpoints that are different then my own and cause me to think about the world differently. Tell me about complex ideas and solutions to problems that are being considered by intelligent leaders. Give me well thought out details that explore options ideas and theories! In many news papers the title tells the entire story. Readership is down, so don’t try to sell to a large market demographic. Find a niche and that niche might as well be educated people with a longer attention span. Let’s face it, newspapers are never again going to have mass popularity, so The Globe and other papers should stop trying to make that happen.

Carl Berke said...

I don't think any one-time stim-bill gift is going to save our newspapers who each have a giant hole in their hulls. The problem started during the internet bubble when conventional business models were declared dead and all our traditional infrastructure was going to be blown to bits by on-line availability of everything........for free. As a consequence of that "thinking", young people expect all content to be free including music, software and journalism. Funny that television used to be free then we moved it back to a wire and now we pay for cable service. But I digress.

So here's my idea: The ideal newspaper product would be the New York Times with a Globe insert. National and world news coverage requires national sales distribution to support it. The Globe is basically already relying on AP and NYT wire services for that coverage but it's pathetically watered down. Then think about the Tab - every week it's fat with ad pages like the day after Thanksgiving.

Walter617 said...

Short-term the Globe needs to trim costs to stay afloat and develop a longer-term survival stratgey. Towardds this, I recommend that it close down all newstand deliveries. I bet that most readers of the Globe are subscribers. Second, it should consider suspending the Saturday edition as it may be the lighest subscription and advertising edition of the week.

Per the NPR comment, I suggest that our two NPR stations show their support by offering subscriptions of the Globe for donations to either WGBH or WBUR. If donors already have subscriptions, they could designate another household to receive it.

Helene Solomon said...

Paul,
The survival of the Globe has overshadowed even Opening Day around our office and among our colleagues. Thanks to your inspiration, we have our Rally hats on here and you can add our blog to the list: Mission Recognition

Dianna Huff said...

I agree with the posters who say the Globe should offer in-depth local news you can't get online.

Also more in-depth business news. The business page is what I read first.

And yes, I wouldn't mind if Saturday delivery got dropped.

I would also increase the blog filter coverage and run it every day. We have lots of Boston area bloggers -- but not everyone reads blogs every day.

Karl C said...

I posted my idea in the Universal Hub's comments related to this "blog rally" but felt it could use better exposure, so I'll repost it here for people to consider:

People want investigative journalism. You can only afford to pay reporters to investigate when you have money to pay them.

Some software companies have setup methods for receiving input from their users as to what features come next. Users suggest feature improvements, users also then rate which features that have been suggested they would like to support (using a small points system..."I add 3 points to blogger123's idea of having an eraser on your new pencil design!").

Now, back to the paper, let the users drive your investigations. Let users suggest what stories or aspects of life they need more information on that they're not getting elsewhere. The recent interesting MBTA train on-time analysis was driven by readers writing in complaining about how they feel like they're being lied to about the current train schedules. Small fee to list an item, small cost to purchase the "points" that let you support other ideas already listed. If the people want to hear more about a potential story on the MBTA, then they'll be directly funding the reporter who will be doing that story by paying to bump up that specific story. You could also list all of the reporters and if a particular reporter/columnist is doing better or worse, then they can put their money-backed points behind him or her, giving an instant read out (sorta like an American Idol of journalism) as to whose stories are driving readership. Hell, let them pay to put points AGAINST someone whose reporting they really hate in the hopes of getting their contributions removed or substantially reduced from the paper (I'd easily pay $20 if it meant less Shaugnessy in my sports section). Users will war with each other (spending money all the way) to keep their favorites in the Plus column while others who absolutely detest the writer will (spending money all the way) try to put the guy in the gutter in the Minus column.

Any story (and/or reporter) who reaches a specific threshold of "fundability" then gets acted upon and shows up in a paper soon after. If you want to drive more points being put into the system, you can do something like kick back half of the points to the users who make a story reach its fundability threshold. If a story idea doesn't reach fundability after a specific amount of time, it expires. You either take that money or do something like refund half of it again. Any points unspent are still money in the bank to work with as invested capital.

Win-win: Public drives the news they want to read (thus boosting readership) and the paper learns how to satisfy the readership while getting paid directly to the point of doing it.

PS - You can also let people use their points as a "tip jar" on articles that you might write that don't come from this system but that the public appreciated after it was written anyways. This will give columnists and other reporters/photogs independence to keep doing what they want to do instead of being directly driven by the users and yet still reap points out of the system and drive investment by the users.

Anonymous said...

I'm an avid Globe reader and news junkie, and someone who likes to access news at breakfast without powering up an electronic device.

Diversity of perspective is important, and every news source has its own angle. Check the Globe and the Herald for their coverage of the same issue and you'll often want a third opinion, guaranteed. Even "who-what-where-when" comes out differently depending on the emphasis. Add "why" and there's plenty of room for thoughtful people to disagree. The Globe provides local news coverage that we won't get without it; it also provides local connections to national and international news. Would the NY Times cover Patrick's support for Obama the way the Globe did? Would the NYT cover the MA experiment with universal (state) health insurance in the detail provided by the Globe? In today's Globe, the quake in Italy is discussed not only as an international disaster, but as a disaster that has shaken many local residents to their very family roots. This is unlikely to be the coverage afforded by a newspaper based in New York (unless it publishes a Boston version -- the Globe!). Do we think that the Metro is going to pick up the slack? The Metro relies primarily on the wire services for news. As the number of "real" newspapers edges downward, the wire services, too, may reach a financial breaking point. If the wire services survive, but news analysts must pursue other activities, who will research sources to put wire service data in context? Maybe here's the answer to what the baby boomers will do in retirement (LOL).

The Globe might avoid demise with a combination of measures. These measures start with pay freezes (and/or staff picking up a higher share of benefits), job sharing, and staff reduction -- by voluntary attrition to the extent possible. One option might be for the staff (with or without other community entities) to buy the paper out and publish it themselves. Future publication of the Globe might be in its present or, more likely, a modified form. For example, the paper might be successful if published as a weekly magazine with a daily paper supplement -- Christian Science Monitor size, but with Globe focus -- plus an on-line component. Starbucks and Oprah have promoted specific books and music. Perhaps Massachusetts shops could promote Globe subscriptions/memberships.

'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

My ideas for the Globe...

- PREDOMINANT placement of the website... "Boston.com" should be same size as "The Boston Globe" across the top.

- Switch to all-in-one, tabloid style print. Less sections = less sorting = less labor = less lost money.

- Completely reverse your current move. Lower prices.

Ultimately, the only way to make a print work in these times is to take a Metro approach. Smaller paper, easier to read, cheap/free with heavy online references. Not all stories should be printed. Your paper should be half the size, and on each section, the stories that are not urgent enough to be printed should be printed in headline only with a reference to the website.

The less your paper costs, and the easier it is to read, the more people will read it. The higher the readership, the more you can charge for advertising. The smaller the paper, the less you pay for printing. The amount of subscribers you will lose for increasing the price will make the benefits null and void.

I don't want to see the Globe close...get on it. Prices rising hurts readership, which hurts ad rates...so on and so forth.

Anonymous said...

the 1st thing they should do is figure out why they need 16 vice presidents? then stop paying some of their foremen 100 thousand dollars a year and up when they would be happy with the hourly wages paid to the actual workers! stop giving out bonuses to foremen and managers at the same time they are asking for concessions from the unions! get rid of the cleaning company that they hired a couple years ago that is actually called american cleaning company but is all illegal immigrants! stop paying for a company to order parts and such, when the foremen in each department can do the same thing! think ahead! they just spent millions on cutting down the paper in both plants and what did that save them ,zero. get creative it is supposed to be a newspaper! i could go on and on but nobody cares so i will be layed off and i have to start all over again in a diffrent job or trade!

Anonymous said...

This post speaks for me:

"The GLOBE's real value has been in the special reports: on the Southie Mafia, and the latest on health care in the Boston area. These represent REAL reporting, information that can't be obtained elsewhere."

The local investigative reporting has been invaluable - can we imagine a world without the Catholic church/paedophilic priest scandal exposed?

A few additional thoughts:

I finally canceled my subscription when they went to the unreadable "G" format. I just couldn't get past the degradation of content and format at the same time. I felt like I was reading the Metro.

I greatly miss the food section and restaurant reviews.

For awhile, they offered Wall Street Journal-type "deep coverage" online to print edition subscribers. I'd pay more for the two bundled services - IF they get rid of G.

Todcasting said...

I believe that the Globe and other newspapers like it need to evolve from the notion that their job is to report "the news," and instead evolve into a resource for the community to analyze upcoming events and activities - guide readers on the future, rather than report on the past. Reading how much fun a reporter had at last nights U2 concert is not interesting - discussing what concerts are coming up this summer, and how to make them a great experience - now, that's useful. Reading rehashed AP content that I read last nught on the web is not useful. Discussing the inside working of upcoming policy decisions and important events - now, that is useful. The Globe needs to view their mission differently - how can we make the lives of our citizens richer, better informed, and more connected, not "gothca" reporting or "here's what our reporters did yesterday."

Farmer Bob said...

Farmer Bob, a voice crying from a nearby rural area with modern conveniences, has posted his suggestions for saving The Boston Globe on his blog at rejordin.blogspot.com.

The Boston Globe rarely listens to his opinions, but he likes them anyway.

Anonymous said...

If I were a Boston Globe employee being asked to take a pay cut and lose significant benefits to save my job and the newspaper, I would say "yes, but..."

And the "but" would be that since the New York Times Company claims these sacrifices are necessary to save the newspaper, they must be willing to open their books to the unions in perpetuity and the moment that the paper returns to profitability, all of the "give backs" would be given back. In essence, I'm suggesting a new financial model similar to employee ownership, whereby employees thrive in good times and sacrifice when necessary.

It's a way for the owners to achieve the cuts they deem necessary to keep the paper viable and for employees to feel confident that the cuts are genuinely necessary, not simply a way to raise stock prices at their expense.

Ralph Poole said...

The Globe advertising rates are too high. To stay relevant the Globe should lower its advertising rates and let many more businesses that currently can not afford to advertise in the Globe take advantage of its readership. I believe that lower rates would actually increase the Globes revenue.

My own experience is that the Globe is not interested in small businesses and they are very difficult to do business with. I am a reader of the Globe and I would like to see it survive.

Tom Linnell said...

A few suggestions:

Understand your customers - don't treat them as an amorphous whole. The world is moving beyond the concept of mass production in many different areas, allowing for tailoring of products to individual's tastes. I don't see why information delivery should be any different.

Harness the power of technology - link the paper to the website by adding depth and layers to the stories that start in the paper - encourage feedback from readers that form forums around stories - and then use that feedback to steer the direction of follow-ups and new threads that will be used to generate the next days news stories(and an energized readership who will await the start of the new cycle, which begins with the print edition) - some bloggers are journalists and some journalists are bloggers - why not a place for them, with social network ratings and the tutelage of senior editorial staffs? - finally, integrate social media networks for gathering news stories and tips.

In the Youtube generation, is there room or interest for photo/video journalism as specializations? A photojournalism section in the print edition could link back to additional content on the website here as well.

Last fall Craig Mundie, who works at Microsoft Research, demonstrated a technology here in Cambridge that would allow you to snap a cellphone camera picture of an article, magazine, or photo that interested you and have a search engine pull up all of the related context for that object without requiring you to type in any words. If search keys were placed in appropriate places in the content of the print editions, you could have this enhanced experience where users who like to encounter the news through print could also take advantage of the richness and depth of online media, and for those who normally get everything through their smartphone, the print copy would provide a way to rapidly scan through dozens of stories without spending huge amounts of time scrolling through the things they aren't interested in.

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

What about having the employees of the Globe buy it out, so it would be an employee-run newspaper? Is there any reason that couldn't happen. As a former New Yorker, I'm ashamed of the Times for threatening to close the paper down. The Globe has its faults, but it's a Boston landmark at least as much as the Citgo sign. Also, what about merging with the Christian Science Monitor?

Anonymous said...

Every morning, yes even on school days at 0630 my 17 year old daughter can be seen in the kitchen, eating her breakfast reading the Boston Globe. She has done this since she learned to read. When she read the paper was in trouble and may be shut down she was appalled. What will we do?

Anonymous said...

The latest news is that the Globe will raise the price of the paper. How many people will pay more for what is becoming less and less?

Technology is moving on. A newspaper, like any other business, must serve its owners (stockholders) or it can't survive. Most customers don't care about saving the owner's investment or employee's jobs, except perhaps for some short-term enthusiasm.

If the Globe is to survive it must find a way to deliver what stakeholders want, in accordance with the modern golden rule: He who has the gold (readers and advertisers in this case) rules.

Davis Square said...

I work online all day and constantly use boston.com among many Internet resources. But I want a local PAPER, the Globe, I can spread out to read over breakfast. Suggestions: eliminate the Saturday edition; beef up Friday to be Weekend, with events and real estate Open Houses. Charge local advertisers low, affordable rates to be spotlighted in advertorials AND bundle in a new section with a new focus on local nonprofits: school groups, scouting, arts organizations/artists,garden clubs, churches/synagogues, food pantries, community service volunteers etc --often wonderful local stories that go untold. Charge low annual fee for boston.com along with Globe subscription, or higher fee for it without print. Become the paper of record on health and science, and also on higher education--great stories/research there get no attention. Drop the magazine- its redundant. Expand travel, especially New England/Massachusetts, even suburbs. Expand coverage of southern Maine and NH where other no major exists and Sox/Pats/Celts/Bruins fans are legion. Bring back City Weekly!

Anonymous said...

The New York Times threatens to shutter the Globe unless the unions buckle. Are managers and owners at the Times offering to go under the surgical knife as well? The union(s) should demand that owners/managers make concessions to match concessions made by union membership. The Boston-based union(s) can't go it alone here. The New York union(s) should back their Boston union brethren. This would significantly strengthen the position of the Boston union(s) without danger to the union(s) in New York. The continued existence of the Times is not at issue.

Anonymous said...

Suggestions for The Globe:

Circulation-

* Price the newspaper at 75 cents for everyone living in the metro area. Why should people who live 30 miles outside of downtown pay the same amount as those who purchase the paper in Portland, ME? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the cost of distributing the paper in other New England cities is far more expensive then the local metro area.

* Tens of thousands of copies are go unsold everyday. Thus, I recommend the paper monitor & regulate single copy sales at retail locations (stores and vending machines)on a daily basis. Why put out 50 copies out for sale at a location that only sells 20 per day? The savings in paper and ink per year would be huge.

* Dismiss your current home delivery contractor. The service is terrible and offers no customer service on any level. I recommend selling home delivery franchises throughout the metro area to individuals who would run them as a full time business. Customer service and satisfaction would improve greatly due to the fact someone is always watching the bottom line.

Editorial-

*Publish zoned editions of The Boston Globe highlighted with extensive local coverage on a daily basis. Not a section but content that appears throughout the paper. This is bound to attract new subscribers who want a paper that gives them their local news, national news, sports and business news from one source. This change will also lead to a dramatic increase in ad revenues (see more in advertising section).

Editorial Web-

Limit the amount of free editorial content on the Web site. Provide readers with a "glimpse" (first paragraph or two)of interesting stories not found elsewhere. In order to read the rest of the story, instruct readers to purchase a copy of the paper (vending/retail or home delivery). Provide incentive for people to buy the paper.

Advertising-

Advertising in The Boston Globe is not an option for the a majority business in the Boston metro area. It is just too cost prohibitive. This is where the editorial change over to zoned editions comes into play. All of sudden the small women's boutique in Danvers can afford to a full page. The same scenario would play out all over the metro area.

Maria Doyle said...

Wow... it is great to see so many comments and suggestions. I am a long-time Globe subcriber, and believe that newspapers have a real purpose and we should try to preserve them.

Although I sit in front of a computer every day, and have RSS feeds set up on my iGoogle page, I see this as letting me know the top issues, as they happen. I also read a handful of blogs, but real journalism is lacking. I don't have the time or inclination while working to spend a lot of time on news sites - but I do enjoy reading the Globe over breakfast or lunch - AWAY from my computer.

(I don't watch the TV news much, they focus on the negative, dumb it down and tell you three times about the upcoming 30-second story.)

So, I look to the Globe to read "REAL" news, in depth. And flipping through the pages leads to serendipitously reading some stories I would never see online.

Keep a local focus, let us know about good news. I really enjoy the serialized in-depth stories. I miss the South section, and the Food section, but understand changes are necessary. I also could do without Saturday. Integrate the online version with the paper more, and vice versa.

I also like the suggestion for affordable regional advertising.

Great suggestion above on a special section for kids - maybe two or three different levels - or a story that starts simple and then has deeper sections for older kids, along with discussion questions - would be a great resource for schools.

Also, as a PS... some people don't have computers - My mother in law told me she spends 2 hours a day reading the paper, including doing the crossword everyday. My grandfather was an avid Globe reader into his 80s. This is a lifeline for many people.

Fibro Witch said...

Adding my blog to the list hoping to help out the Globe. Some of these suggestions are great. I will do a longer blog post on my own blog after the game ends.



http://fibrowitch.blogspot.com/

Wade said...

My perspective, as a reporter for the local online publication Xconomy, is that Boston can survive, even thrive, without today's Globe. As I note in a column under that headline today: "The fact that the profession of journalism and the business of newspapers have been so closely intertwined since the mid-1800s is largely a historical accident—a matter of convenience for both sides. It’s time to acknowledge that the two are not the same; that while newspapers may succumb to creative destruction, journalism will likely emerge alive and well."

Tony said...

I know this is not going to be a popular suggestion, but I think the Boston Globe should completely eliminate the Sports section (or on some days multiple sports sections) of the newspaper. First, in case you haven't noticed THERE IS ALMOST NO ADVERTISING SUPPORTING THE SPORTS SECTION. Ok, once in a great while an ad for car tires will pop up there, but it certainly can't be paying for itself. The Globe took what was one of the best Living Arts sections in the country, decimated the staff, and shoved the whole thing into a throwaway section called "g", and it has pages and pages of advertising. More people attend cultural events in this country than attend sports events. Eliminate Sports -- people can easily find the results they want on TV or the web. Look how much money you'd save in staffing and paper alone.

David said...

Hi Paul,

You may be aware that the Peabody Museum in Salem has invited Mrs.Tina Ambani on it Board. Mr. Ambani is within the top 5 Billionaires of the world. Mr. Ambani is very modern and internationally focused, he might be interested to purchase a paper like Boston Globe and allow it to capitalize on its academic and health center reputation and allow BG to expand its international work as it had before.

Secondly, the Hindustan Times of India is also one of the most succesfull newspapers in terms of readership. It is also very respected journalistically, they may be interested to acquire BG to operate their international bureaus through the BG.

I hope some of your passionate readers and bloggers have the skills to at least establish the necessary contacts between these parties. The BG should make the approach. It would seem to me they are too insular and not forthcoming to seek out prospects.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the Globe on Twitter? The NYT is.

Anonymous said...

I think the best possibility is to abandon print, except maybe for a Sunday edition, to move online, and to embrace the NPR nonprofit model of relying on user tax-deductible contributions and public/private grants. Maybe the Globe Online could team up with WBUR and/or one of the local universities. I strongly agree with other posters who have argued for a focus on local journalism, particularly local investigative, business, and cultural journalism, which is in short supply elsewhere online.

brenda said...

I think the solution for the Globe and for all print media is to devise a system to charge for online content. The charge does not need to be high--in fact it should be low enough to make the news accessible while still generating enough money to pay the reporters and editors who make sure the news is worth reading.

Newspapers could join groups so that a subscription of a couple of dollars a month would give the reader online access to say, 10 or 20 or 100 different papers. Medical and trade journals do this all the time. If the print media (and the TV media) all agreed to charge for content, then readers would have no choice.

Sites such as Huffington and Drudge would have to either pay to reproduce the content, or would only be able to post a few paragraphs of an article from other media.

If this was done, we could have online versions for the wired among us and print versions for those of us who still appreciate the value of a paper you can flip through.

Anonymous said...

The Boston Globe is certainly better written than the Newton Tab or the Metrowest Daily News, which are the only local alternatives, however I find their editorials and slanted news coverage disturbing.

john beck property vault said...

I hope some of your passionate readers and blogger have the skills to at least establish the necessary contacts between these parties. The BG should make the approach. It would seem to me they are too insular and not forthcoming to seek out prospects.

Real Estate System said...

Technology is moving on. A newspaper, like any other business, must serve its owners (stockholders) or it can't survive. Most customers don't care about saving the owner's investment or employee's jobs, except perhaps for some short-term enthusiasm.Comments on what the Globe should do differently are helpful, but in the near term the best way to help is to subscribe to the print edition.

Texas breast reduction said...

I think that a foundation or group of wealthy residents should buy the Globe and run it as a non-profit enterprise. They would earn a decent return with out the burden of the Times' massive debt load and the Globe would thrive without the burden of making a profit.

James Morgan - Puritan Financial Advisor said...

We view the Globe as an important community resource, and we think that lots of people in the region agree and might have creative ideas that might help in this situation.