Tag Archives: Boston.com

Memo Friday II: Boston.com GM addresses speed issue

Also on Thursday, The New York Times posted the results of a test showing that Boston.com loads slower than any mobile news site it measured — and that the way it handles advertising is the cause. According to the Times, it takes Boston.com 30.8 seconds to load all those ads, about three times worse than the next-worst offender.

Boston.com general manager Eleanor Cleverly responded with an email to the staff vowing to do better. A copy of her email wafted in through an open window here at Media Nation:

As you may have read, NYTimes.com published an article and related graphic, “The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites,” that profiles performance on many of today’s most trafficked destinations. An unfortunate, but accurate conclusion from their report is that Boston.com remains a standout in the time and data burden it places on users when loading advertisements and content.

This is not news to us at Boston.com. Optimizing our mobile and desktop load time and ad experience has been top-of-mind since the beginning of the year. We are in the process of one major project, the migration of Boston.com from our legacy CMS Methode to WordPress, that has allowed us to tackle some foundational improvements in an ongoing effort to solve the problem. Further, we’ve setup collaborative teams to address our mobile ad experience and ad blocking as a BGMP-wide [that’s short for Boston Globe Media Partners] concern. Key questions and applicable solutions will be relayed over the next quarter.

We’ll continue to keep the digital group updated, but it will take changes across the organization to realize real quantitative returns. We collectively got us to this point, and it will take a collective effort, putting the reader experience first, to make Boston.com the best-in-class website we envision it to be.

My door is open to additional conversations on the topic and creative solutions are always welcome.


Holding campus police departments accountable

Photo (cc) by xx. Some rights reserved.

Photo (cc) by jakubsabata. Some rights reserved.

Should police reports at private colleges and universities be considered public records in the same way that those at public colleges and in cities and towns are? You would think so. After all, as Shawn Musgrave reports for the public-records website MuckRock:

Sworn campus police may carry weapons, make arrests and use force, just like any other officer. Statute grants special state police “the same power to make arrests as regular police officers” for crimes committed on property owned or used by their institutions. Particularly in Boston, campus borders are difficult to trace, and some of the most populous areas lie within university police jurisdiction.

Yet because police departments at private institutions of higher learning are non-governmental agencies, they are not subject to the state’s notoriously weak public-records law, which requires police departments to show its log of incidents and arrests to any member of the public upon request.

Campus police departments do not operate entirely in the dark — as Musgrave notes, they must make certain records public under the federal Clery Act. And he found that many departments provided their logs when he asked for them. But privately employed police officers exercise the same powers as those working for the public, and they should be subject to the same disclosure laws.

Musgrave’s report, posted on Sept. 15, has been gathering steam. Today his story is on the front page of The Boston Globe, which has long had a relationship with MuckRock. Earlier it was flagged by Boston magazine and by Boston.com.

As Musgrave reports, state Rep. Kevin Honan, a Brighton Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would bring campus police departments and other privately employed police officers under the umbrella of the public records law. It’s a bill that has failed several times previously. But perhaps increased public scrutiny will lead to a better result.

The Globe’s David Skok takes on more responsibilities

The Boston Globe’s David Skok is putting on yet another hat. According to Benjamin Mullin of Poynter, Skok, the Globe’s managing editor for digital and general manager of BostonGlobe.com, has been named Boston Globe Media Partners’ vice president for digital.

Among other things, Skok will be in charge of the company’s troubled Boston.com site, which in the past few weeks has seen a dozen layoffs as well as changes at the general manager’s and editor’s positions.

The announcement is well-timed given that the company seems determined to right the Boston.com ship. Globe Media chief executive Mike Sheehan last week told the Globe that a new direction for the site would be set over the next two to three months.

Longtime Globe business columnist Steve Syre departs

Steven Syre

Steven Syre

Lost amid the latest mishegas over Boston.com Tuesday was a truly significant departure — that of Boston Globe business columnist Steven Syre, who’s taking the buyout. Steve is an old friend from Northeastern who worked for many years at UPI, the Boston Herald and later the Globe.

Steve is going to work with his wife, former Herald “Inside Track” columnist Laura Raposa, at The Foodsmith, a bakery she opened recently in Duxbury.

“I’ve had a great job for 20 years,” he told me, “but it’s time to try some new things.”

Layoffs add to turmoil at Boston.com

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.47.15 PMNote: Updated with statement from Boston.com below. I got wind of this a little while ago — and it turns out that Garrett Quinn of Boston magazine was already working on it. A significant number of staff employees at the beleaguered Boston.com have been laid off. I hear 16; Quinn says “high teens.” [The actual number is 12, according to the Boston.com statement.] This comes after the departure of the site’s general manager and editor during the past week, and months of turmoil (punctuated by occasional calm) before that.

Boston Globe Media’s strategy of building free verticals around the Globe is, for  the most part, progressing nicely. BetaBoston, which covers the innovation economy; Crux, devoted to “all things Catholic”; and Stat, the forthcoming life-sciences site that’s already producing stories, are all quality projects.

But Boston.com has been seen as a thing apart ever since it was separated from BostonGlobe.com a year and a half ago. And the turmoil continues.

More: I just received this statement from incoming Boston.com general manager Eleanor Cleverly and outgoing general manager Corey Gottlieb:

We have spent much of the past few months rethinking an operational vision for Boston.com that both maintains our autonomy as a standalone business and reinforces our partnership with the Globe. Today, we announced a restructuring of Boston.com’s newsroom and the reduction of 12 full-time staff positions. This realignment includes changes to our leadership – Tim Molloy has chosen to step down and Kaitlyn Johnston, Boston.com’s current deputy editor, has been appointed as our site’s new editor.

This is a business decision that is part of a larger effort at Boston Globe Media Partners designed to put Boston.com in a stronger and more sustainable position for growth. That said, we would be remiss to overlook the fact that this was also a people decision, one that affects the lives of many who have worked tirelessly to support our operation. We are deeply grateful for that work.

Boston.com editor departs, according to BoMag

The revolving door keeps spinning at Boston.com. Garrett Quinn of Boston magazine reports that editor Tim Molloy is out, just a few days after Eleanor Cleverly replaced Corey Gottlieb as general manager. Molloy had been editor only since March.

New general manager named at Boston.com

Eleanor Cleverly (via Twitter)

Eleanor Cleverly (via Twitter)

Boston.com general manager Corey Gottlieb is leaving to take a job at DraftKings, according to an email sent to the staff from Mike Sheehan, CEO of Boston Globe Media Partners. He will be replaced by Eleanor Cleverly, currently the company’s executive director of digital strategy and operations. A copy of Sheehan’s announcement wafted in on the breeze a little while ago, and I present it below in full.

I first met Corey Gottlieb about a month after he graduated from Amherst College, when he joined the ad agency world on the bottom rung of a very tall ladder as an assistant account executive. I was immediately impressed not only with his maturity, his creativity, and his intellect, but also his work ethic. Clearly, he was going to climb the career ladder by working, not by talking.

The following year, he came to my office and told me he had been offered a job as Director of Product Development at Major League Baseball Advanced Media. For someone that young who grew up in Brookline playing baseball and devoted to the Red Sox, it was a dream job. I countered with nothing but a handshake, my best wishes, and a plea to stay in touch.

Corey spent four years at MLBAM, and then went back to school for his M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. As he was finishing up there, Andrew Perlmutter brought him in to discuss a role within BGMP, and he joined us as General Manager of Digital Marketplaces and was subsequently promoted to General Manager of Boston.com, leading its transition into a discreet digital property separate from the Globe. While that separation caused its fair share of anxiety, it has resulted in BostonGlobe.com having the third highest number of paid digital subscribers in the country, behind the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. From a business standpoint, there is no greater priority than producing quality journalism for which readers are willing to pay and with which advertisers are happy to be associated.

A few weeks ago, in a moment of deja vu, Corey came into my office and told me he had been offered a job as VP, Content at DraftKings. It’s a terrific opportunity, getting in on the ground floor of a fast-growing, Boston-based startup in the sports space. My counter was no different than the one before; I know I speak for everyone when I thank Corey for all he’s done and wish him nothing but success in his new endeavor.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to look too long or too far for Corey’s successor — the first name that rolled of the tongues of Andrew, Corey, and David Skok was Eleanor Cleverly. And I couldn’t have agreed with them more. I’m pleased to announce Eleanor’s promotion to General Manager, Boston.com.

Since joining BGMP, Eleanor has served as Director of Content and General Manager of Digital Marketplaces, Interim Editor of Boston.com, and Executive Director of Digital Strategy overseeing Social Media. Eleanor joined BGMP from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she worked for the Center of Public Leadership. She also served as Assistant Director of the Harmony Institute where she conducted research for partners including Free Press, The Ford Foundation, and MTV. In 2009, she co-authored Net Neutrality for the Win: How Entertainment and the Science of Influence Can Save Your Internet.

Earlier in her career, Eleanor was Social Media Director for MEC, a media agency under the WPP umbrella where she oversaw strategy and media buying for IKEA, Citibank, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Eleanor not only has the resume to be successful leading Boston.com into the future, she has the leadership skills as well — she is universally admired and respected throughout the building. I couldn’t be more excited to have her leading Boston.com and I can guarantee she’ll continue to evolve it into a relevant, interesting property within the BGMP portfolio.