The plunge in Metro Boston’s circulation remains a mystery, with the biggest mystery being whether there really was a plunge or just a change in accounting. (Like, the auditors discovered 50,000 copies in a Dumpster somewhere?)
Boston Herald editor Kevin Convey suggests a new slogan to Boston Magazine’s Amy Derjue: “Metro: We Can’t Even Give It Away.” More substantively, Convey says, “If economics were ever to permit us to go free we would give away one hell of a lot more papers than the Metro has managed to do during its lifetime.” (Via Adam Reilly.)
Maybe, maybe not. It all comes down to those economics. If I could choose between a free Herald as it is today and a free Metro, there’d be no contest — I’d grab a Herald every time. Trouble is, it’s highly unlikely that you could turn the Herald into a free paper without laying off most of the staff, cutting way back on pages and — yes — turning it into something very much like Metro. Or BostonNOW.
Unless — and here’s the big unless — the Herald could find a way to make the Web pay, and then publish a small, free paper as a supplement to the online edition. But we’re probably a long way from that becoming realistic.