By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions fires up the cash register is supposed to shut down any minute now. When it returns, at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, it will become a paid site, eventually costing $3.99 a week. The best deal: taking home delivery of the Sunday paper for $3.50 a week, which gives you access to all of the Globe’s digital content for no extra charge.

Since the debut of the website in September, I’ve heard people complain that it’s too cumbersome to use. My own experience is that it’s gotten better, and that folks at the Globe are responsive to suggestions. In particular, the “Today’s Paper” section has improved. But it works better as a breaking-news site.

Thus I still find myself making some use of GlobeReader, the Adobe Air-based platform that serves as a pretty good representation of that day’s Globe. It’s not perfect — content is sometimes missing, and photos seem like an afterthought. But for those of us who still like to flip through the paper, I find you can do so much more efficiently than you can with the website. (You can use GlobeReader with a laptop or desktop computer, but not with an iPad or a smartphone, since those don’t support Air.)

Globe publisher Chris Mayer told me in August that GlobeReader would continue to be offered for some time to come, but would not be improved and would eventually be phased out. So it’s not a permanent solution.

So let me suggest that the Globe work on something similar to New York Times Skimmer, a website that presents all of the Times’ major RSS feeds in a Reader-like format. I think offering that in addition to the standard website would give readers a couple of good options depending on how much time they had and what device they were using. And Skimmer works on the iPad.

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Globe warns Occupy Boston on trademark


From the Great Minds Think Alike Dept.


  1. Dan: I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the new Providence Journal website and paywall plan:

    It was finally launched yesterday and is going over like a lead balloon down here. They have not officially announced payment terms for a digital option. The website is updated, but hardly modern and will feature short stories mostly from wire services and presumably the Journal’s blog. The eEdition is straight out of 1995, a .pdf reader of the print paper.

    The punditry down here seems to think that this is the Journal’s way of getting people to go back to print and that it won’t work.

  2. Nashua NH Telegraph has launched its too – it’s similar to most: 25 articles free per month; unlimited subscription is $6/month with Sunday paper, $13/month with 7 day subscription, $13/month online only. (So buy the paper, people!!!!)

    Almost every daily in NH has a similar system now – notable exception is the Union-Leader, which holds back certain stories for print only, and lets online readers know this.

  3. I ended my subscription to Globe last year and for the first time in more than two decades didn’t read the Globe every day. And much to my surprise, I haven’t missed it.

    I get my local news from Twitter/Facebook/blogs and scouring RSS feeds of local news. So occasionally I do end up on But primarily I’m interested in politics, opinion, national and international news – which I get from the New York Times, Washington Post and several blogs (including this one).

    Sports is taken care of by ESPN online.

    The problem with the Globe is content. Primarily quality content. They just don’t have it like they used to. When I do get a single copy paper or peruse there are few thought-provoking pieces. Few must-reads (the recent Whitey feature is an exception).

    And the op-ed page is guilty of the worst kind of sin – being dull.

    I wish them luck with the pay model, but if they don’t improve the quality I foresee troubles ahead.

    • Dan Kennedy

      George: A very rational response from someone who is a news junkie, is well-versed in social media and is motivated to seek out what he wants. In other words, not the Globe’s audience — or that of any metro newspaper these days.

  4. Matt Kelly

    >>The problem with the Globe is content. Primarily quality content.

    Yeah, what Snell said. Except I reached that conclusion in 2007.

    So if I *did* subscribe to the Sunday only for full online access–which I won’t– could I tell them to keep the Sunday edition and save a few trees? That hasn’t been worth reading since 2000.

  5. Chris Walton

    I still wish they’d offer a mobile option that doesn’t depend on having access to the Internet.

  6. Mike Coughlin

    @Chris, there is a mobile app for (I got it from Android market, don’t know if Apple has it), apparently not yet for

    @Dan, I am disappointed they will end Globe reader and hope they take your suggestion regarding NYT skimmer or make other changes that make navigation easier. Reading the website on a laptop with no mouse is not the easiest thing to do. Thanks for suggesting the best deal awhile back, I made the same arrangement as you and its been satisfactory so far. But if they drop reader and don’t upgrade the website I might have to reevaluate.

  7. Tom Underwood

    Speaking of mobile version, I have Boston Globe app on my iPhone. It is a shell of what it was before the pay-per-read model went into effect. They dropped the op-ed among other things. I’m guessing that there won’t be a full version app available because of the weekly fee model?

  8. Chris Walton

    The iPhone app is awful, especially compared to the New York Times iPhone app. It has very little content—and you have to have Internet access to use it, which doesn’t help this subway commuter.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Chris: Not sure what you mean by “very little content.” It’s the whole paper. Just in terms of user experience, I agree that the New York Times app is a lot easier on the eyes and fingers.

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