If you’re a regular visitor to the Boston Globe’s Web site, Boston.com, you may have noticed some new features creeping into view during the past week. Media Nation has obtained an internal e-mail written by Bennie DiNardo, the Globe’s deputy managing editor for multimedia. Here is what’s going on:
• A one-and-a-half- to two-minute daily video of news headlines, called “GlobeToday,” will appear on the home page every weekday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. I viewed a sample on YouTube and found it to be slick and spritely, though limited by the extremely short length.
• A new section called “The Angle” is described by DiNardo as an “online news magazine that pulls together the most provocative content on Boston.com that day and engages readers to join in the conversation on these hot topics.” It is produced by the editorial and Ideas sections.
• A particularly promising new feature is “Thought Leader,” a gathering spot for blogs by a variety of folks in the community — from ACLU of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose to Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce. Other contributors thus far are my “Beat the Press” colleague Kara Miller, Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, Boston University journalism-department chairman Lou Ureneck and music buff Ben Collins. I am told that the bloggers are unpaid, which could limit the amount of work that folks are willing to put into it. But this bears watching.
Other new features include “App Sampler,” a blog in which Hiawatha Bray will, you know, sample apps (it doesn’t appear to be online yet); “Munch Madness,” some sort of interactive attempt to tie together the NCAA tournament and eating; and improvements to breaking news and sports coverage.
As is generally the case with Boston.com, a lot of this stuff could be easier to find. But what’s impressive is the air of experimentation, and the New York Times Co.’s willingness to invest modest amounts of money at a time when other newspaper companies remain in cutback mode.
I also think it’s smart that Boston.com continues to move in the direction of being a different product from the Globe. Since the idea is to maintain paid print and electronic editions alongside a free Web site, they should each offer a different experience. To that end, I’ll repeat what I’ve said in the past: I would get rid of Boston.com’s “Today’s Globe” feature. Though I think all (or most) of the Globe’s content should be available on Boston.com, it shouldn’t be packaged exactly the same way. (By way of comparison, BostonHerald.com has a very different look and feel from the print edition.)
Good news from an organization that appeared to be on the ropes a year ago.