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

Why the Globe should acquire Universal Hub

The Boston Globe may be getting smaller, but it was just handed an opportunity to do something very intelligent. Let’s see if it can rise to the occasion.

Adam Gaffin, the chief impresario and co-founder of Universal Hub, just lost his day job as an online editor for the trade publication Network World. UH, if you don’t already know, is a “best of the blogs” site — an essential guide to nearly 1,000 local blogs in Greater Boston, all informed by Adam’s love of his adopted hometown and his puckish wit.

The Globe should hire Gaffin. I’ve been saying it to anyone who’d listen for quite a while now. Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix said it just last week. Yes, yes, the financially ailing Globe is in the midst of downsizing its newsroom by 50 people. But with fewer reporters, the paper is in more need than ever of someone who can intelligently aggregate content from a wide variety of sources. No one is better at it than Gaffin.

Recently, as you know, the Globe tried its hand at automated aggregation. It didn’t work out.

Gaffin’s ability to find what’s interesting, entertaining and important while holding down a demanding day job has always been awe-inspiring. If he were able to devote his full attention to it, Universal Hub would only become better. (In most respects, anyway. No doubt he would no longer offer his acidic observations about certain Globe columnists.)

Gaffin has been affiliated with the Globe in the past — for a while he wrote a roundup for the Sunday paper’s City Weekly supplement.

Do I have a conflict of interest? Yes, and thank you for asking, though it cuts the other way. Adam also runs the Boston Blogs ad network, which automatically places advertising on Media Nation and many other local blogs. Lately it’s been doing well enough to cover my Internet access fees. Were Adam to go to the Globe, I imagine we’d be left high and dry.

If the Globe is to reinvent itself, it’s going to have to act as a trusted guide to the best content out there. It should start with Gaffin.

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  1. Suldog

    Over at U-Hub, I said, “Yay, Dan!” That’s because this was a nice post to do.Here, I’ll say, “Listen up, Globe!” Dan Kennedy is giving you amazingly good advice, free. As a matter of fact, it’s such good advice, it may end up costing him (and me) money, should you choose to act upon it. And I certainly hope that you do.

  2. Rhea

    Right on! Adam is an old guy like you and me, but he is on the cutting edge of news and opinion in Boston. Long live, Adam G!!!!

  3. Jason Butler

    Absolutely!I’ve been beating this drum for a while…

  4. ron-newman

    I’m glad you wrote this, Dan. Let’s hope it has some positive effect.

  5. margalit

    You go, Dan! Adam would be an incredible asset to the Globe. He knows what people want to read, and often he chooses things that are so unusual and so beautifully written. He has his finger on the pulse of greater Boston and hopefully the Globe will realize what a talent they could have. A talent that would not only benefit the Globe, but all of us in Boston. Listen up, Globe!

  6. J. Charles

    Damn straight Dan. The Globe has been handed a golden opportunity. Let’s see if they’re smart enough to act on it.

  7. Cleary Squared

    Put me in the solid Hell Yeah column, Dan.

  8. Sean Roche

    I’m a huge Universal Hub fan. I’ve been linked to. I’ve posted. I’ve commented. But, mostly, I’ve enjoyed.But, I’m going to argue against the Globe acquiring Adam. I’m not convinced that being a Globe property would do so much for traffic. Universal Hub has been around for a while. It’s had plenty of time to establish itself. Is the Globe branding really going to drive that much new traffic?And, without the anti-Globe snark, would it really be Universal Hub.Adam should do what’s best for himself, but I’m not sure it’s so clear.

  9. John Farrell

    I hope the Globe is paying attention!

  10. Erica George

    I hope you don’t mind, but I made a Facebook group for this…. George

  11. Dan Kennedy

    Great idea, Erica! And it doesn’t have to be the Globe, either. Any local news organization would be smart to snap up Adam and Universal Hub.

  12. Adam Pieniazek

    Hmm…I could go either way on this. It would be great for Adam to have a steady source of income, but I feel UH would lose a little bit of what makes it so awesome if the Globe bought it.At this point, I trust AG enough that whatever he decides is best for UH I'll side with. Still, I'd rather see UH stay independent & become that steady source of income for him rather than becoming a Globe entity.Off to click ads on UH to help keep stay independent.

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