By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions boosts its political coverage

Later this year, the Boston Globe will move most Globe content off its free site and onto a paid, redesigned Which raises a question: Will the still-free include enough high-quality, original material to stand on its own?

We got an encouraging answer to that this week in the form of an announcement that veteran political reporter Glen Johnson will be returning to the Globe as’s political editor. According to a staff-wide e-mail from deputy managing editors Jen Peter and Bennie DiNardo, Johnson —

— will oversee the expansion and redesign of the site’s political coverage leading into the 2012 presidential race and beyond, with a blog, videos, aggregated content, the smart display of original Globe stories, and any other creative ideas we can come up with.

You can be sure that Eric Fehrnstrom is thrilled.

Peter and DiNardo’s full statement follows:

We are thrilled to announce that Glen Johnson, most recently of the AP’s State House bureau in Boston, will be returning to Morrissey Boulevard to become’s political editor. In this role, Glen — who has covered Massachusetts politics for nearly two decades — will oversee the expansion and redesign of the site’s political coverage leading into the 2012 presidential race and beyond, with a blog, videos, aggregated content, the smart display of original Globe stories, and any other creative ideas we can come up with. He will draw on the expertise of our political staff, both locally and in D.C., to make the page a must-read for anyone interested in Massachusetts and New England politics. We will also look for opportunities to republish some of Glen’s politics blogs in the Globe, and we contemplate a regular presence for Glen in the Globe in the form of a regular political column that would be based on his reporting and analysis. With his deep knowledge of the local political scene, his agility as a writer, and his embrace of new media, Glen is the ideal candidate to fill this position. And it couldn’t come at a better time for us, as we prepare to strengthen our web presence with a two-brand strategy and gear up for a presidential primary in our backyard.

This is a homecoming for Glen, who worked for the Globe for more than five years, from 2000 to 2005, in between two stints at the Associated Press. He has covered four presidential races — including Paul Tsongas’ 1992 bid, when Glen worked for the Lowell Sun — and four administrations on Beacon Hill, stemming back to the Weld years. Most recently, he served as the AP’s lead Romney reporter in 2008. He lives with his wife in North Andover and has two college-age sons. He is an avid cook and observer of professional cooks (ask him about his stint in the kitchen at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon). Glen will join us on Jan. 31, and we couldn’t be happier to have him back on board. All cooking tips welcome.

Jen and Bennie

Glen is a good guy and a dogged reporter. A very smart move by the Globe.

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  1. C.E. Stead

    Glen is also biased and rude, if he is somebody you don’t agree with. Remember the sitting on the floor thing with Romney?

    I didn’t have high hopes of fair coverage from the Globe anyway, and at least now we can consider the source.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @C.E.: If you want to criticize Glen for his exchange with Romney that day, fine, but sitting on the floor? He had his laptop open and was taking notes. A lot of reporters do that, and there’s nothing rude about it. BTW, I ran in to Glen at a Bush event in South Carolina in 2000. He was alone in the corridor, writing a story on his laptop … sitting on the floor.

  2. L.K. Collins

    Anyone hear how the CC Times is liking their new pay-wall?

    • Dan Kennedy

      If it slows the loss of print circulation, they’ll be happy, even if it destroys traffic to the website. (And it will.)

  3. Matt Kelly

    Look, I’ll be the first to say that Glenn is a superb reporter– which, by definition, means some people dislike you. He’s still outstanding at his job, and as a consumer of news, I welcome his expanded role at

    As a publisher of news, however– I’m not really sure how the Globe sees lots of upside to this. Political news abounds on the web in all forms, and you can get high-quality doses of it, for free, in lots of places. The Globe is serving up exactly what online news consumers already get in spades.

    If starts moving other sorts of news off its site– local news about MBTA breakdowns, city disasters, crime, whatever– to make room for this, I don’t know that the final sum is still a positive number. Presumably the editors there have considered this and have their reasons, but if you remove something users want and replace it with what they can get anywhere else, that’s a dicey idea.

    I know, I know– the logic is that you put all that other material behind a pay wall and squeeze out revenue from users who want it. In that case I’ll turn on the TV.

  4. I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that President Obama’s name has been said and written more than any three presidents combined in history.

    The Lord giveth
    and the government taketh away.
    Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    ISamuel 8:9-19

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