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

Counting the days for Globe regional sections

Media Nation has obtained a memo sent to the staff by Boston Globe metro editor Brian McGrory and regional editor David Dahl. The full text follows.

All,

We just wanted to bring you up to date on the proposed changes that we went over last week. The publisher and his senior management team approved the recommendations late yesterday involving Metro. This means that City Weekly will shut down, and Globe North West will disband as a freestanding zone, its geographic areas split between North and West. The final issue of City Weekly will be published on March 22; the final issue of Globe North West on March 26. The three suburban zones will continue to be published two days a week, Thursdays and Sundays, as they are now.

On City Weekly, we wish there was an upbeat spin to put on this. There’s not. It’s been a singular section since its launch in 1992 — vibrant, filled with voice, often with an edge that the rest of the paper would do well to replicate. Lately, under Veronica [Chao]’s leadership, it’s only grown stronger. The sad reality, though, is that advertising revenues simply don’t sustain it, so we’re losing a strong section put out by a group of talented and committed people.

Where we can sound more upbeat is in the suburbs. For the second year in a row, a group from across the paper studied the viability of the suburban zones and decided that they are too important to readers to dramatically reduce. It’s testament to everyone who works hard on those sections, and we expect that the hard work, the high quality, and the reader popularity to continue. And our suburban coverage will be greatly enhanced as we continue to roll out more Your Town sites — as many as 15 by year’s end.

As far as the zones copy desk, there will be substantial changes made, along the lines of what we said last week — the four day week becomes a five day week, with editors playing a stronger role in the Your Town sites. We’ll brief you on that when we have more, which should be soon.

Thanks for your cooperation and all your strong work through these really frustrating times.

Brian and David

No surprises — the City Weekly and Globe NorthWest cuts were already all but certain. Depressing nevertheless.

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3 Comments

  1. Ron Newman

    This is very sad. It could cause me to finally cancel my Globe subscription.Does Globe management have any inkling that the City Weekly section is also “too important to readers to dramatically reduce”? Without the City Weekly, the Globe would have next to no coverage of Cambridge, Somerville, or Brookline. Why are we less worthy than suburban readers who will still get TWO zoned sections a week?

  2. Chuck Tanowitz

    The knock on the Globe has always been that it’s readers are in the suburbs not in Boston, in a way the Globe is making moves to just follow its readers. Making that kind of adjustment for a large paper with a traditional print model was difficult, but it’s something that is accomplished much easier on the Web. Also, I’m sure that much of what was in the City Weekly will end up in the Metro section, or at least fighting for the shrinking news hole there. I’d be curious to know if specific Boston neighborhoods are being considered for a Your Town treatment, which would be another place for this kind of reporting to show up.

  3. T

    Personally, I was not impressed with City Weekly. It’s not a good thing to see less space for news, but I didn’t think the section was the vibrant, “edgy” addition described in the memo. For some reason, it could never get advertisers. I used it and was very happy with the results, and they were willing to cut great deals on the rates, making it very cost-effective.

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