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

Teasing the Globe

Joe Keohane, Jeff Keating and Adam Reilly are all quite taken with the Boston Globe‘s new “In the news” front-page teasers, which run the length of the left-hand column. Joe even goes so far as to call the feature “a web-influenced sidebar.”

Well, pardon me, but there’s nothing even remotely new about what the Globe is doing. Certainly it’s no different from the “Newsline” column that appears on the front of USA Today (left). The Boston Herald ran similar teasers following its sparkling 1999 redesign, but gave them up after its New York Post-ification a few years later. (Unfortunately, Ron Reason, the consultant who oversaw the redesign, has removed the sample Herald fronts from his Web site.)

That’s not to say the Globe teasers aren’t a good idea. They are. They’re also intriguing from a strategic point of view. The vast majority of Globes are sold via home delivery, but there’s no need to flog the inside content for customers who are retrieving the paper from their front porches.

The teasers say that Globe executives have decided there’s circulation to be gained by persuading more people to buy a copy on their way to work. But aren’t these the same people who are reading the Globe online, for free, once they get to work?

That’s the 50-cents-per-copy question.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


The Globe’s non-trend story


Wilkerson leaps in (II)


  1. Neil

    …there’s nothing even remotely new about what the Globe is doing.Well I think they mean it’s new for the Globe eh.I thought there was a Dewey defeats Truman-style error in the In the News item about the US Open results, “Top-seeded Justine Henin defeated“, because Henin wasn’t defeated, she beat Williams in two sets. But it’s not a headline, it’s just the beginning of the sentence in bold:Top-seeded Justine Henin defeated two-time former champion Serena Williams, to advance to the semifinals of the US Open.I don’t know the paper term for what that is. I took it for a headline which it obviously isn’t. Amusing! I wonder if that kind of ambiguity will show up often. Might be worth keeping an eye out for them.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Neil: I was commenting specifically on Joe Keohane’s observation that the Globe teasers are “web-influenced.” Someone should have told that to USA Today 25 years ago.

  3. Keohane

    Holy nitpicked!

  4. Anonymous

    Way of the newspaper world: with a few exceptions, we’ll be a totally tabloid nation by 2010. Everybody, will look like The Herald.

  5. Anonymous

    I hope what you’re talking about isn’t one of Brian McGrory’s happy, fun news initiatives? But as long as I’m rambling on about nonsense, and the attempt to make the paper appeal to the unthinking, need to be excited crowd, let me add something I read in the paper a couple of days ago. As I was reading my morning paper (delivered, hard copy, not online), I came upon what I consider to be the ultimate inane piece, a story headlined ‘Shark found dead’ about a shark in New York that had frightened swimmers. Apparently it died. Now, assuming they are sure it was the same shark (DNA test perhaps), what do I care, here in Boston, about a shark that died in New York? A piece like that is even beneath the Metro. I expect better.

  6. Neil

    Also, do you think so many people have the kind of job where they get to read the paper online at work? Is everybody a cubicle jockey? That’s depressing.

  7. Anonymous

    Dan’s right. The rail of teasers and/or news briefs is hardly a new phenomenon, as readers of the Newburyport Daily News can attest. Nothing Web-related about it.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    If I didn’t pick nits, Joe, what would I pick?

  9. Ben

    I think your point that they don’t need to “flog the inside content for [home delivery] customers” makes too narrow an assumption on the logic behind the change.Any consumer product whether it be deodorant, oatmeal or a newspaper needs to be constantly improved so that it can maintain and broaden its buyers. As a home delivery recipient, I want improvements and I see this as one (albeit minor). If the paper gets stale, I might drop my subscription.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Ben: I’m not sure how you see front-page teasers as a product improvement for home-delivery customers. More and/or better stories about subjects that interest you? Better photos? Of course. But it really strikes me that front-page teasers are aimed entirely at potential newsstand/newsbox customers.I’d be interested to know why you think front-page teasers are an improvement for you. Please feel free to elaborate. Maybe I’m missing something.

  11. Tim Allik

    It’s worth noting that the Globe’s relatively new front page editor and former business editor Caleb Solomon came to The Globe by way of The Wall Street Journal,which was doing news bullets on its front page when the web was still just a place where spiders caught flies. I think it’s a good service to provide to busy newspaper readers. Nothing tabloid about it.

  12. Anonymous

    have any of you looked at the front page of the wall street journal in the last, oh, 25 yrs?

  13. Anonymous

    Aside:Simpsonized photos are so a couple months ago.

  14. Joe Keohane

    Touche, Dan.

  15. Caroline

    Well, now I feel better. The new Globe bullets made so little of an impression on me that I didn’t even notice. Maybe it was because I’ve seen it before. Now, the Herald’s design – that struck me, but maybe I am intrigued solely by shiny happy things.

  16. Anonymous

    Actually, as any designer and reader surveyist will tell you, those rails are useless for single-copy sales. Half the rail is below the fold and all of it is in font too small to attract the moving eye in less than a second. There’s actually fewer papers in the state that don’t use the rail. The rail is aimed at those who already have the paper, whether newstand or home, to ensure readers will go to other sections of the paper so advertisers will get a bang for their buck and avoid everyone trying to get into the A section.Also, the paper that goes home with readers is far more valuable to big bucks advertisers like furniture stores, car dealers and large retailers than the one left on the T or in the head. If you can attract someone’s attention with a rail item and they are unable to read it immediately, they will save the paper for a later time, thus keeping the ads floating around the house. Does it work on everyone? No, but newspapers are looking for every little edge they can find and if the rail increases readership by any fraction of a percent, it’s a winner.What you will see coming to a paper near you soon is the “Three minute digest,” an actual rack of briefs not teasing stories but self-contained news items down the side or across the bottom of a papaer so readers get a synopsis of the day’s major headlines. Not unlike USA Today’s states roundup but with meatier, if not longer, items. Many European papers are using it and some US broadsheets have started it as well.Welcome to ADD News You Can Use.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén