By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Deep cuts at the Globe

Richard Prince reports that the Boston Globe is folding its entire national operation, although the Washington bureau will be spared. (Via Mark Jurkowitz, who’s also learned that the weekly Life at Home section is toast.)

This may be the most significant cut at the Globe that I can remember, since it goes right to the heart of its identity as a regional paper with national ambitions. The New York Times Co., which owns the Globe, is not inspiring a lot of trust this week.

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  1. Steve

    I can’t say that I’m surprised.NYT as a corporation must think that its main national reporting capability and that of the Globe are redundant. I guess that means that the Globe will be getting any non-local reporting content direct from the Times.The Globe will remain a regional paper and its national ambitions will evaporate. Who at the Globe harbored those ambitions, anyway? And why did they continue to hold those aspirations once the Globe was sold?On a related topic, someone seems to be doing some market research about the Globe – I received a rather lengthy polling call the other day. The poll focused on the Globe’s editorial and op-ed content (though other areas of the paper’s content were touched upon). Among other things, the poll asked whether I would pay for expanded on-line opinion pieces (ARGH!), and whether I would read and participate in on-line discussions about the Globe’s opinion pages.The poll also asked about my views on the credibility of various sources (Internet, magazine, radio, TV, newspapers).For me, the Globe is the only news source I receive in printed form. Everything else I read, I read online (unless I buy the Times, which I do occasionally on vacation when I’m off-line, or if I want to do the crosswords). So their questions about the online content of the Globe weren’t really relevant for me – but they would have been relevant if they were talking about any other newspaper.

  2. Anonymous

    I’m sad to see this happen, but more for perception than reality. In reality, does it make too much difference if a Globie goes to New Orleans to cover the flood, instead of a NYT or Knight Ridder service reporter? The problem occurs if the Globe understandably emphasizes their own reporters’ bylines on the front page. Then we’ll see important national stories downplayed and undercovered, only because a Globe reporter isn’t there. New Orleans is a good example: the Globe seriously underplayed this huge news story until their own people got there.Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I think the Globe will still send its reporters to important stories where their reporters’ viewpoints have impact, so we’ll still see a lot of national news with Globe bylines. The biggest loss will be for feature stories without a strong New England tie-in. But I think if you stacked these stories up over the course of a year, you’d see the most expensive and least-read stories in the paper.Mark

  3. peter

    What’s with all the kvetching over the dismantling of the Globe’s national bureau? I welcome the idea that a few talented reporters will soon be reassigned from national beats to invigorate the Globe’s moribund metro coverage. The Globe has never been a national paper in any eyes but those of its own editors; what good are “national ambitions” — as D.K. puts it — if they’re never realized? That’s like me saying I have ambitions to be an Olympic diver. I think it will do the Globe good to give up the fantasy and focus fully on being what it is: a well-made regional paper.The only important national news that comes out of the Globe comes out of its Washington bureau, which is being left alone. I think 11 people in DC will be plenty to continue servicing readers (and it’s a lot more than you’ll find at other regional papers the Globe’s size). When a big event like Hurricane Katrina occurs, I’m sure the Globe will continue to muster staff to cover the story itself. As for the rest of the time, the Globe’s editors should bite the bullet and start printing some national news from the NY Times. To hell with the Globe’s wounded pride! Times copy is better than a lot of stuff their own national staff is producing now, and it has an advantage over wire copy in that Boston readers won’t be able to get the exact same thing in the Herald, the Metro, and every other rag.The newspaper industry wonders why it’s in so much trouble. The professional vanity that keeps editors from making common-sensical decisions about how to best deploy their reporters is part of the problem!

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Peter –There’s a lot of sense in what you write, but I have to disagree that the Globe should start running national news from the New York Times. Why? It would be stupid for the Times Co. to do anything to discourage people from buying both the Times and the Globe.

  5. Peter

    Dan, in this day and age, when fewer and fewer people can be bothered to subscribe to ONE daily newspaper, how many dual subscribers do you think are left in the Boston area? That is, other than media mavens like yourself — and even you recently mused about canceling your dead-tree subscriptions.As long as the Times Company isn’t strong-arming the Globe into reprinting its coverage, I don’t see any reason for the Globe to resist. It shouldn’t be a blanket policy, but in those cases where the Times has a stronger version of a story than AP, I’d rather read the Times story in my Globe. Frankly, I might be more willing to plunk down 50 cents for a Globe if I thought I was getting the combined power of the Globe and the Times for my two quarters. Who knows, maybe the Globe’s circ would go up. (As for the Times circulation in Boston, no Times subscriber is going to cancel his subscription just because he might be able to read a couple Times stories in the Globe).

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