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

Toward a Globe-al community

Beth Israel Deaconess president Paul Levy has posted an interesting item on his blog about the future of the Globe. His suggestion: Use the Web to transform the Globe into an online community, with blogger contributions running alongside the paper’s journalism. He even proposes paying bloggers with some sort of Globe scrip to buy goodies or make charitable donations. He writes:

All of sudden, regardless of actual ownership, this is now our newspaper. You have given me a reason to check in, to participate, to feel pride, and to feel a sense that you are relevant to our community in a variety of ways.

For the CEO of a major institution to embrace the “news as a conversation” model espoused by citizen-journalism advocates is an important step. Levy gets it. I also think Globe editors get it more than he gives them credit for, but he’s right to argue that they need to turn the battleship around faster than they’ve managed so far.

Update: Adam Reilly thinks we disagree. I’m not so sure. I take Levy’s suggestion as an “in addition to” sort of idea, not an “instead of.” Ideally, the Globe would foster a community around its journalism, not sacrifice the journalism for the sake of community.

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  1. Anonymous

    EB3 here.If I was on the Board of Beth Isreal Deaconess I would call for a pow wow with our President.”Hey Paul, we hired you to worry about this business. We even gave you a blog to help this business. Dis you fgorget who is paying you and what your job is?Now you go out of your way and use your position we gave you to needlessly piss of the Globe.”Maybe Paul thinks it is all about him.

  2. Paul Levy

    Hi EB3,Actually, the blog is mine (i.e., no one gave it to me), and I often talk about lots of other topics besides the hospital.Hard to imagine the Globe being annoyed by suggestions to generate revenue and income for them and support their very good reporters. Their financial situation is already very public. Like many folks, I’d like them to be successful.Dunno what you mean about my thinking this is all about me. I’m really sorry if it gives that impression. Dan and I and others often write posts giving our opinions. That what this blogging is all about.

  3. Anonymous

    Hey Paul, EB3 hereIf you were not President of the hospital nobody would read your blog. Everything you say and do is a reflection on the Hospital. Curt Schillings blog is not going to change one pitch he makes. Or sell one sox tix. Your’s is differnt. You represent a major local, if not national, institution. Yet you say,”Hard to imagine the Globe being annoyed by suggestions to raise revenue.” The president of one major institution telling another institution, in public, how to run their business is not good for your institution PaulMaybe Belichek should tell Francona how to manage the Red Sox. That would be different then me or you or Dan Shaugnessy telling him how to manage.So when your hospital needs something or needs PR or public support for some construction project in the tight quarters you operate out of, maybe the Globe will be a little too quick to knock it down. Then they can tell you how to run your business.If I am wrong, then please make suggestions for Mayor Menino ( he needs them) Gov Patrick, Sens. Kennedy and Kerry and anyone else your hospital needs to rely on every so often.BTW how much does your hospital pay the red sox for the marketing they do. I know you get great seats behind home plate and signage to remind me you exist. You did pay a premium for this, right? Who pays for those seats you sit in?

  4. Peter Porcupine

    EB3 – do you think we can GET Belichek to tell Francona how to run the Sox????

  5. Anonymous

    EB3 here again.No Peter. I need him to run the Bruins. Screw the Sox!

  6. Jim Caralis

    I’m not sure the addition of blogging is going to help all that much. What has hurt the papers isn’t the advent of blogging but that of,,…They need to increase subscribers. One step in the right direction could be to give some number of free classified ads to print subscribers and think of other subscriber exclusive options.I have to believe the newspapers need to eventually move toward free classifieds and support them with online and print ad revenue.

  7. Paul Levy

    Thanks for your thoughts, EB3. I appreciate the advice.Read my blog for a full description of our Red Sox deal . . . except, of course, for the price.

  8. Anonymous

    EB3 again,Thanks for responding Paul.I looked at your blog and the links you provided regarding your red sox deal. As you stated, your hospital pays an “annual fee” to the Red Sox and in return gets, according to your blog, signage and exposure at and around the ball park, the opportunity to provide on site emergency medical care during home games (and promote the fact you do), named “presenting sponsor” for a $125,000 annual scholarship program paid for mostly by the Red Sox Foundation, sponsor and promote a blood drive in September, and promote yourself as the “Official Hospital of the Boston Red Sox”.This is a standard deal, but the implicit selling points, which are why you most likely paid a premium, are the perks used by the advertiser’s decision makers. They usually include season tickets, ( I see you sitting behind home plate on occasions Paul) luxury box and private club access, other small programs and events involving employees and clients which really are camouflage opportunities for big wigs to hobnob with players and former players.I am bothered by state agencies, authorities, and commissions that buy these packages. But I am also bothered by a non-profit institution needlessly and perhaps recklessly spending a considerable amount of many, I guess $2 million, for a forest when all the trees and the land can be bought for less than half. If you did not pay a premium price for this package and it does not include many of the personal perks then I apologize.

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