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Two more points about the redesigned Boston Globe site at

  • Once you get past an ad and a few teasers (including one for “Government Center,” a terrific resource that can be hard to find), a good chunk of the right-hand column is taken up with “Reporter’s Questions” — possible future stories for which reporters are seeking information. This feature has been around for years, but I’ve never seen it displayed so prominently. All smart news organizations are looking for ways to build communities around their journalism, and this is one way to do it.
  • The blogs may be getting short shrift on the front, but they’re being promoted heavily on the Globe page. Just scroll down the left-hand column a bit. So are the podcasts, which have been organized and promoted in such a way that I may give a few a try now.

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  1. Anonymous

    How many stories are actually generated from Reporter’s Questions, and how significant are they? I check those questions now and again and not much seems to come to fruition. Dan, I know you don’t work for, just throwing the question outthere.

  2. Anonymous

    Meh. So, they want my help for ideas for stories coz they can’t come up with their own. So, now I can find blogs and podcasts I’m still not interested in.Meh.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 1:14: I agree — kind of a stopgap. Far better is for reporters who blog to build social networks around their blogs and to tap directly into their readers’ knowledge, as Dan Gillmor suggests here. But it’s better than nothing.

  4. Bill Toscano

    Is the front-page podcast new?I like the NY Times version.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Bill: It’s not new, which just goes to show how such features were hidden away before.

  6. Lissa Harris

    To Globe reporters looking to mine those “Reporters’ Questions” replies for story fodder–caveat emptor, guys. Bear with this long story, ye of Media Nation. It has a moral.Four (!) years ago, as a very, very green freelance writer–new in town and just getting going at the Dig–I came across a really obnoxious Craig’s List ad, a would-be Snow White looking for an actual dwarf to accompany her to a Halloween party, for money. Holy shit, I thought, what a great story. I set about looking for people with dwarfism to talk to me about the entertainment/party dwarf industry and whether they’d been pressured into it. (You may remember this, Dan. I interviewed you for it.) I hit up the official channels, but felt I didn’t have enough regular folks in the story. So I posted a Craig’s List ad looking for sources. Some guy emailed me back. I called him, and got the most unbelievable stories about getting drafted as an elf for childhood Christmas pageants, going on MTV cattle calls for “little people” only to see all the good gigs go to established names, throwing in the towel on acting and becoming an artist instead, etc., etc. Guy was an endless font of quotable quotes. Of course, I wrote the whole story around him.His name was Kevin Banks, he’s a Phoenix illustrator of utterly normal height, and he punked me but good. Lucky for me, Tak Toyoshima recognized his name as the story was going to press (!). Joe filled the slot with some ridiculously nasty fake profile of Banks instead that we had all of an hour to write. All told, it was a valuable, if humiliating, early lesson in journalistic integrity and honing one’s bullshit detector.The moral might be “Never trust a fake dwarf,” or it might be “Don’t troll for sources on the Internet.” But either way, Globe reporters, beware the low-hanging fruit.

  7. Daniel S.

    The above comment is exactly what I thought of when I saw the reporters’ questions.The problem with waiting for a source to come to you is that you then only have the people who would like to be quoted.This could lead to a fairly biased or even untrue article.One can only hope that sources such as these are paid extra attention by the reporters, and are not the only ones relied on.

  8. Anonymous

    Lissa Harris writes that as if she believes she has something to teach us, after doing something that clueless.Lissa, thanks for the advice. And it’s good to know you recovered by publishing something you made up instead. ———What I was going to write when I came here was: What’s with the new way of tagging op-ed pieces on the Globe home page? “Kahlenberg writes on saving Metco,” “Jackson writes about Bush’s emotion,” etc.

  9. Lissa

    Goddamn it. Of course I was a moron, Anonymous, that’s the whole bloody point of the story.Don’t know if you were around Boston at the time, my friend, but the Dig in 2003 was basically a heady stew of pot advocacy and acute schizophrenia, with the occasional actual story thrown into the mix. They paid five cents a word if at all, and you had to catch the business manager boozing it up on a Friday afternoon to get it. Interesting place to learn feature writing. Satire unlabeled as such is bullshit, and I’m frankly thrilled that stupid Banks thing has long since sunk in the muck of the Internet–though no reader with an IQ over 50 would ever have thought it aspired to factuality. But perhaps I should have flung myself into the Charles out of shame instead. (I think I considered it. Rough year, ’03.)

  10. Anonymous

    Lissa, goddamn it, I’ve lived continuously in greater Boston and have been following the local media here since 1979 – around the time, I suspect, when your parents were hooking up. I fully appreciate that you were, and possibly still are, a moron. My comment was intended to address the fact that you seem to assume the rest of us are as well.In any event, throwing yourself in the Charles will do no good. They’ll merely fish you out and then you’ll need a course of antibiotics.

  11. Lissa

    Well, pardon me, sir (I presume?), for not immediately recognizing your long and distinguished Boston media pedigree. Perhaps a byline would help.At any rate, I did not mean to cast aspersions on anybody’s intelligence, except maybe the folks at the Globe who came up with that “Reporters’ Questions” idea, which is in my opinion a truly hilarious media hack waiting to happen.

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