First of all, let’s dispense with the fiction that Time magazine is predicting the Boston Globe may go out of business or cease publishing its print edition sometime this year. Universal Hub and Jessica Heslam wrongly attribute the prediction to Time. Bostonist almost gets it right, but is unclear enough that readers might still think this is coming from Time.
In fact, the source of this rather startling prediction is Douglas McIntyre, a blogger for 24/7 Wall Street — not exactly the ghost of Henry Luce. Time just happens to run the feed on its Web site. (Here’s a look at the site’s syndication service.) I’ve interviewed McIntyre. He’s a smart, knowledgeable guy, but it’s fair to say that he likes to be a provocateur.
You will notice, too, that McIntyre repeats that bit about the Globe’s being worth only $20 million. In fact, as the Boston Business Journal reported recently, a more logical number is a shade under $200 million — far short of the $1.1 billion that the New York Times Co. paid for it (in 1993 dollars, no less), but a lot more than $20 million. I know of no one who ever thought the $20 million figure was credible.
The Globe is struggling mightily, but its Web site, Boston.com, attracts more than 5 million unique visitors a month, and its paid print circulation — about 325,000 on weekdays and 500,000 on Sundays — is, though far short of the glory days, plenty enough to attract a decent amount of advertising if we weren’t in the midst of a brutal recession.
So can we please get real?