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

The demise of BostonNOW

I’ll be on WBUR Radio (90.9 FM) later today talking about the demise of BostonNOW, the free commuter rag that’s been competing with Metro Boston for the past year.

To be the second paper in the rather narrow market for people who want something free to look at during a 15-minute T ride was always going to be tough. Publisher Russel Pergament is blaming his Icelandic financiers, but if BostonNOW were making money, then no one would be pulling the plug.

When BostonNOW started out, it was supposed to be a state-of-the-art meld of print and Web, with readers setting up blogs that would be excerpted in the paper. That did happen, but it never really garnered much attention after the initial flurry of interest. Webcast news meetings stopped months ago, according to this.

Whoops — looks like the BostonNOW Web site just went down. Even before I could post.

Update: Whoops again. It’s back up. No telling for how long, though.

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On semi-hiatus


Eating lead at One Herald Square


  1. Anonymous

    I picked it up, when in Boston, for its crossword & Sudoku puzzles. There really wasn’t any reason to read it for news.

  2. Anonymous

    “But the costs couldn’t justify the size of the audience,” the website states about its termination of Webcasts.I guess the copy editors were the first to go.Bob in Peabody

  3. Anonymous

    BostonNOW– like the Metro, but without the spell-check.

  4. Anonymous

    “Publisher Russel Pergament is blaming his Icelandic financiers, but if BostonNOW were making money, then no one would be pulling the plug.” It is highly unlikely that any publication, or business for that matter, would be able to be profitable in just a year (if that’s what you mean by “making money”). My guess is that the Icelandic financiers gave BostonNOW several years to get to profitability. Inside sources tell me they were hitting their revenue goals and hitting their “path profitability” benchmarks. If all that is true, the only reason to pull the plug would be if the financing dried up. Note: even when they became “profitable” they would still need to pay down the intial years’ startup costs, which would be done over the long haul or if the paper were sold.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 3:58: Fair enough. I was probably too blithe with that comment. But with the advertising market hitting the skids, there’s probably not much chance Russel could have kept to his goal.

  6. Stella

    There may be a place for contemporary pamphleteers, but they must have something of merit to say and a new way of delivering their message.

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