Like a crank you can’t shake off at the bar, I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that the Boston Globe will be locally owned within 10 years — maybe much sooner.
Well, now. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published a commentary (sub. req.) urging the New York Times Co. to sell the Globe, arguing that large regional metros are in an especially bad position in the new media environment. (You didn’t know that the Journal had a Saturday edition, did you?) The commentary, by Lauren Silva and Rob Cox, is on the Breaking Views site as well (via Romenesko), so by all means have a look. Silva and Cox write:
The Boston newspaper occupies the industry’s muddled middle — a place where classified ads are moving to online upstarts like Craigslist and Google. Circulation is sliding. Big advertisers are consolidating and migrating to national media like the Times and younger readers are looking to their PCs or Blackberries for their news…. This doesn’t mean the Globe couldn’t find a loving home. The piecemeal sale of Knight-Ridder showed there are plenty of rich local worthies willing to own their local rag.
That last sentence, of course, is a reference to papers like the Philadelphia Inquirer, which recently was scooped up by local investors after Knight Ridder sold out to McClatchy.
It seems inevitable that papers such as the Globe will be locally owned, as Wall Street begins to realize that they can no longer be the profit machines of yore. So why not get a head start?